‘Could I Have This Dance?’

Published 8:30 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

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The orphanage in India was the only world seven-year-old Parimala had ever known. As a special needs child, that seemed to be the only world she would ever know … until.

Tom and Dawn Cosgrove of upstate New York were members of a mission team to India.

The blond lady from New York, brought a smile to the little orphan girl’s face and she reached and touched the lady’s hand.

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During the mission team’s time at the orphanage, the connection between the lady form New York and the little orphan girl didn’t go unnoticed.

Would the Cosgroves consider being Parimala’s parents?

“I knew in that moment, yes,” Dawn said. “But, my husband said, absolutely not.”

The couple had four children back home. Parimala would be an added and lifelong responsibility. But, the little orphan girl had touched Tom Cosgroves heart just as she had touched his wife’s.

With joyful tears, Tom Cosgrove said, yes. “I want this for her, for us.”

Parimala is now 14 years old and about four feet talk. She has a rare condition, MOPDII, shared by less than 200 people around the world.

Parimala has a wonderful home and family and loves music, dancing and pretty clothes and bright colors.

“We knew Parimala would enjoy and benefit from a dance class for her age group,” Dawn said. “She enjoyed the class and was looking forward to the recital. But, when the teacher brought out the brightly colored costumes, Parimala got very excited.

“The instructor mishandled the way Parimala was restrained and refused to let her be in the recital and attend classes.”

The incident appeared on TikTok. Patti Rutland Simpson who owns and operates Patti Rutland Jazz in Brundidge happened to see the incident.

“I was broken hearted by what I saw,” Simpson said. “I contacted the Cosgroves and told them if they were ever in Alabama, I would like to give Parimala a recital.”

Just by happen-so, Parimala was scheduled to attend a camp for special needs children in Alabama in July. “Just perfect,” Simpson said.

On Saturday afternoon, July 8, Parimala had her recital at the Patti Rutland Jazz studio in downtown Brundidge. The recital was followed by a dance in her honor that night.

“Having Parimala visit and perform with Patti Rutland Jazz is definitely one of the highlights of my life,” Simpson said. “She is pure joy and I was honored to meet her and her parents. When I heard of her experience in upstate New York, I knew I wanted to give her a happy recital experience.”

Simpson and Dawn Cosgrove put the plans in motion for a special recital for Parimala.

“She performed with Lily Simmons and Iliannah Cousins, two dancers who are also 14 like Parimala,” Simpson said. “We had several PRJ dancers perform so Parimala felt like she was a part of a real dance family.

“We gave her a PRJ team jacket and to see her wear it brought tears to my eyes.  For almost 35 years, I have lived by the motto, ‘One Race – Human.’ We are simply living and loving reflections of each other so love and respect everyone.

“Parimala lives this motto every single day of her life. She touched our lives and we are forever blessed to have met her, to have danced with her, and now call her a friend.”

Brooks Taylor, PRJ team, said he can’t imagine what Parimala had to go through before she came to visit PRJ.

“But, watching her dance at her own recital – she was just great at what she did,” Brooks aid. “I’m happy to be a part of this memory for her.”

Brooks’ mom, Robbyn, said watching her own child dance and the joy it brings him is amazing.

“All children should be afforded that opportunity – to be surrounded by friends and express themselves without fear or shame,” Taylor said. “What a blessing to be able to give joy to another dancer, but an even bigger blessing was for our dancers to be part of a mission to right a wrong and replace a bad memory with a perfect one.”