Susan's Blog

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Once Upon a Dream

When I was pregnant with Nat, I had a dream about him, and I saw him clearly, a two-year-old boy, standing in my sister’s room in my childhood home, laughing and running away from me. I can still see him as plain as day, Dream Nat, on my sister’s kelly green shag carpet (we grew up in the 70’s after all; mine was orange). He looked exactly the way he ended up looking, as a toddler. Even so, I did not believe the dream at the time and I continued to imagine that I was going to have a girl.

Well, we all know the end of that fairy tale. I did not ever have a girl. But what a set of boys I had! And how appropriate that Nat, my oldest, would be the first to go to a prom, even though a few have been offered to Max already (but Max is determinedly Alternative, and sneers at things like proms).

Yesterday, however, we learned that Nat’s school had messed up in terms of obtaining the tuxes for the boys. I was mad. I said out loud, “There is no way in hell that Nat is not going to have a tux for his prom.” And I knew that was true. But how would I do it? I had three hours to get him a tux, in the middle of June, wedding season. I frantically called tuxedo places, but the only one that answered at 9 on a Saturday morning was Read and White. The only place that was not part of some big chain, the only place that is not a “Wearhouse,” (such an attractive place to get clothing from) or the name of a hemorhoid-soothing pad.

Like Dorothy, I asked the Read and White guy, in a panic, “Will you help us? Can you help us?” As if he were the wizard, the man behind the curtain. He was just so calm and soft-spoken, that I calmed down, too.

We drove over there and we were the only customers in the store. The 60-ish man behind the counter understood everything right away — everything and everyone — and with the same laid-back voice he’d used on the phone, he began getting Nat the pieces of his tux. He would whip out the tape measure and try to get a bead on Nat’s shoulders or waist, just in time before Nat would dance away on one of his treks around the shop. He instructed me to pick out a vest — so many lovely colors! — in a size Small of course, and Ned helped Nat get on his pants. I chose a pale baby blue.

This man was like a magical being, who materialized just when we needed him. A Fairy Godfather. Just puttering in his shop, transforming Nat for his prom. Bibbity bobbity boo.

Eventually all of the parts came together and Nat emerged from the dressing room. He looked like the young Robert Redford, in The Great Gatsby, I realized, and said that to Ned, who just laughed at me. But he really did. I had an odd feeling, something like deja vu. Then, as I was buttoning up the last of the vest buttons, I felt a song in my head, the one from Sleeping Beauty. So I said, “Why, it’s my dream prince!” and then I started singing,

“I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream.”

In a flash I remembered when I did, indeed, walk with Nat once upon a dream.


but Max is determinedly Alternative, and sneers at things like proms

My advice, as a former determinedly alternative my self at 17, go to your prom. I didn't because I thought they were pompous and fake at the time. But, its a good opportunity to capture a point in time in your life. I regret never having attended the prom.

— added by Kent Adams on Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 11:51 am

Hi Susan,
I love it when things can magically come together like that in the end.It sounds like Nat had a great time too. šŸ™‚

— added by Anonymous on Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm

You made me cry, Susan Senator, and this is definately NOT the first time. I have been trying to absorb your words and strength since Making Peace With Autism. It must be difficult living in a fishbowl, but i am so very thankful for how you share your life so generously. Your honesty is like stitches after a deep wound. Thank you (and your King and Princes too, of course).

— added by Anonymous on Monday, June 15, 2009 at 6:28 am

Ack! This made me cry. I'm so thankful for strangers like the tuxedo salesman in my life.

— added by gretchen on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm

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