Special electricity was in the air last night. Here at the Kemp Auto Museum in Chesterfield, a “Junior Prom” was held for children from the ages of 5-17 living with Down Syndrome. It was possible due to the efforts of our former St. Louis first baseman, Albert Pujols. Together with his wife, he formed the, Albert Pujols Family Foundation, an organization dedicated to “promote awareness, provide hope, and help meet the needs of children living with Down Syndrome.” From what I know they also make “dreams come true.”
Near twinkling lights, dancing music played early last evening while tasty food was served. Balloons in festive colors decorated party tables covered in cotton cloths. Scented carnation corsages worn on tiny wrists wafted among the guests, while boutonnieres pinned young men’s vested chests.
Handsome guys dressed in crisp dark suits, wore their hair combed back, tamed with jell… except for one, loosely sprung! Innocent young girls donned sparkly dresses swishing with scratching slips of netting underneath. None of them seemed to notice or mind a bit. Resting behind their ears, glittering headbands gathered curls from fresh faces of pure joy and happiness.
Parents swayed on sidelines until they no longer resisted another beat. They too, joined dancing children in the ring. Some held hands or swung around. Others sat on chairs or stood next to new friends, their smiling faces filling the room.
A “magic moment” happened in the ballroom last night. Daughters became “princesses” out of fairy-tale books. Smiling shyly, each one felt pretty like any other girl who wore a new dress to the floor. Sons extended hands to dance like “princes” from pages of pop-up books.
When children tired and music waned, an odd thing happened outside the big exit door. “Crystal coaches” didn’t crumble into pumpkins, nor did tiny grey mice scatter everywhere. Instead, hugs said, “Good-by” where friendships began. Parents drove children home proudly with sighs and smiles. Hearts filled with contentment, while peace played music in sleepy minds.
Dreams did come true last night. Not just for parents and children, but for everyone.