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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 15

We danced to the Beer-Barrel Polka

"I had so much fun, Rodney, thank you so much for taking me so I could Polka with my new friends. We had so much fun, I think I danced every opportunity."

The dances went on whether it was in someoneís two car garage, my wide screened in back porch or wherever. My new friends had their curiosity aroused because I was willing to readily dance at their parties.

"Hey girl!" Someone called to me "We just wanted to know where you learned to Polka like that?"

"Why, you taught me, of course." I laughed as we swung back and forth, around and around on the floor. The music was all the beer-barrel Polka music no one could resist. I knew they would never understand if I tried to explain to them about the Flaming Arrow where the students at the boarding school attended went every night to dance. Let them think what they wanted about party girls or whatever they might be wondering. It was just too much fun to turn down the chance to enjoy myself so much.

Rodney could never seem to learn to dance, or so he said. He could waltz a bit but was never comfortable and really didnít seem to enjoy it. So here it was, I could dance with a kid, with another lady, with some older man or younger boy, it didnít matter, it was all for the joy of dancing and I loved it.

Meanwhile, on a daily basis and along with meeting attendance, service during the day, I kept up with the therapy they had taught me at the center. Rhonda was fitted with braces and although it was like putting a knife in my heart to see her in them, I persevered. The therapist wanted her to stand a certain length of time in the unbending steel staves. The idea was to try to teach her balance and give her the chance to use her legs. I had to put her against the wall and not leave her even for a second because she had absolutely no balance. Evidently the part of her brain to control that was injured. The minute the braces were taken off she crumpled into a heap and it was as if she never experienced the thought of standing at all. It was all a little like swimming in quick sand. The depths were dark and endless, there were no life guards, nothing to tell a person where a safe place might be or what would really work to save her life not just for the day but for longer than that.

As much as I loved my new friends, the joy shared with them and the lovely home where we lived there was a restlessness with me. No one told me this therapy wasnít going to work but I looked around me at the center and I saw for myself how this was simply a means of making an attempt to do something for the children they housed for whatever reason. Maybe it was to placate their parents and possibly they believed in the treatment. For me, it was obvious this wasnít the answer for Rhondaís condition. I was wondering what would happen when it came time for her to attend school. There wasnít even a dream of special education at the time. The center had already told me they wouldnít treat Rhonda unless they had her full time and I wasnít going to do that. I was unhappy and no one could help me. There was no cure for brain damage and cerebral palsy but no one wanted to admit that. It was like the blind leading the blind.

The study I had done at Auntie Pudís library gave me the knowledge I needed to know about building a childís ego and what would happen to them if that wasnít done. All the idiosyncrasies involved were not pretty and we didnít need that on top of what we already had. Children given over to an institution sometimes sooner or later could be returned to their parents. Their original

problems were with them while new ones popped up from the trauma of having been separated from their parents. All the case studies I read in Auntie Pudís books seemed to parade in front of me as I watched one after another of the children go through one bad habit after another while their parents were helpless to do anything.

"Are you okay with driving to the city everyday for your work?" I asked Rodney.

"Well, it is inconvenient!" Rodney wasnít the one to complain and that was well known.

"What do you think about moving to the city? A childrenís hospital with the University of Oklahoma has a therapy program and will be willing to take Rhonda. Iím ready to move closer and make a try with that. One of the other motherís who was with the program is going since they do not require the child to be housed with them."

Rodney and I had been married now for three years but I didnít know, I really didnít, how he would feel about giving up our hard won home in Norman, Oklahoma. The work and sacrifice we made to get us into this spacious, lovely place would be just thrown away. The decision made according to my conscious which would not allow for material things to rule ultimately was the best for the life of our child and was the best thing to do.

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