The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
666 Broadway, 8th Floor
New York New York 10012
800-221-4602
info@ndss.org 

Proud Dad
Proud Dad

My daughter, Julia, known by everyone as "J", started dance class when she was 5 years old. She loved dancing, so we were excited to see how she would do in the class. She had her moments, good and bad, sometimes into it, sometimes not. The big disappointment was that she refused to go on stage for the recital both of the first 2 years. So, for the 3rd year, we put together a plan with Miss Paula, the studio owner, to help J overcome her stage fright. For starters, we recruited our babysitter, Kait, also a student at this studio, to help J backstage. The night before the show, my wife, Carolyn, spent a great deal of time with J during the rehearsal. Of course, we were constantly pumping J up with positive vibes. So, the big day came and we were feeling good, but still not sure what would happen. We sat in the audience, filled with hundreds of people, with nervous anticipation. It was now time for J's group to perform and, once again, she didn't come out. Our hearts sunk, but Miss Paula was not ready to concede. J was in the wings, in Kait's arms, and Paula called Kait over to her perch in front of the stage. J was clinging on to Kait for dear life and did not seem interested in talking to Paula. The scene was truly amazing, as the entire show stopped while this drama played out at the front of the stage you could hear a pin drop. It seemed like this went on for an eternity and we felt utterly helpless. Finally, Paula instructed Kait to sit down on the stage with J, behind the other girls. I thought, "Okay, at least she'll be on stage, which might help for next time". The music started and the girls began their dance. The whole time, Kait never stopped talking to J. After a little while I noticed that J was making all of the gestures that the other girls were making essentially doing the dance while sitting on her butt. They all started making quarter turns, and J did the same on the floor. As she came around to complete the turn, Kait picked her up and J just kept dancing on her feet. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The crowd went nuts! J finished the dance and, when it was over, acted like this was all normal. I don't want to overstate this accomplishment, but it felt like a miracle. My eyes were far from dry, and I know I was not the only one. I couldn't possibly describe how proud and amazed I was mostly by the courage and character of my girl, but also by the actions of Paula and Kait and the shared experience with the entire audience. To this day, six years later, I still get a little choked up when I tell this story. I'm a proud and very lucky Dad, indeed.




Vote for your favorite story! Each month, the two stories with the most votes will be featured in the NDSS E-Newsletter.*

Email:        


Your email address will be used for voter tracking only, and will not be used for future NDSS emails.
Click here to become a fan on Facebook.
Click here to follow us on Twitter.

*Votes will be reset at the end of each month.



Full Name
Email
Country
State
Comments (1,000 character limit)



Shelby Lane Deann Savage, United States, ND
2/8/2011 10:07:28 AM
I love your story! Because the fact that you guys never gave up on her and just gave her what she needed to dance is amazing! and reading this made me cry and think i wish i get to have some amazing moments like this when i become a parent.

Laura Morgan, United States, MA
1/29/2011 11:46:09 AM
You always get my vote, J! Love, Laura

Evelyn J Arana Ortiz, United States, MA
1/28/2011 1:07:40 PM
Very inspirational story! Miss you at GE! Take care and big hugs! Evelyn

Maria Rugani, United States, CA
1/28/2011 11:59:21 AM
a fear we all have; the courage we all wish we had!

Gregory Grehn, United States, MA
1/28/2011 11:25:42 AM
Tim, Carolyn, J: What an inspriational story! -Greg

Rob Raymond, United States, TX
1/27/2011 11:20:16 PM
Great story. Great Family. Great Girl.

Deb Ramos, United States, MA
1/27/2011 8:42:22 PM
I feel like i was there...,cheering loud with everyone else. I continued to be humbled by how we...as parents....find so much joy in seeing our children face their fears. Congratulations Julia!

Sally Grant, United States, MA
1/26/2011 12:35:14 PM
Well, I wasnt even there and I am all choked up. Thank you so much for sharing your story. J is an amazing girl and I can see why you would be so proud of her! The Kelley family rocks!!

Jack Barry, United States, MA
1/23/2011 5:16:13 AM
Tim, Great story! Jack

Ellen Horton, United States, MA
1/22/2011 3:46:18 AM
I love this story! It clearly shows what a little patience, understanding, and love can do! With that kind of support from her family and friends, J will continue to have many opportunities and much success! She is blessed to have such a loving family!

The McNulty Family, United States, MA
1/21/2011 5:01:45 PM
We love the Kelley Family! This is a great story to show the spirit in this family. Love the McNultys

janet chandler, United States, MA
1/21/2011 4:21:59 PM
Way to go, J!! You are awesome and you can do anything you set your mind to. We love you, Kelley Family! Love, The Chandlers :)

  • Buddy Walk
  • NDSS Yourway
  • My Great Story