The other night, right as we were winding down for the evening, my daughter and I were chatting in her room about life. All of a sudden, she asked me a question that startled me, but didn’t shock me. She said, “Mom, is it OK if I marry a boy with disabilities?” Without skipping a beat, I replied,”As long as he treats you as good as your father treats me.”
I may have shed a tear or two. Just moments before my daughter had uttered those words, I received a text from my husband asking if I’d purchased the latest People magazine. He knew I’d had a rough day. He’d had a long day as well, but he also knew I needed a pick me up. Why was he out running to the store mere minutes before our daughter’s bedtime? It was because he knew our child needed soft tissues for her tender, allergy-afflicted nose.
When we were dating, my husband promised me that if we were blessed to have a little girl, he would be the kind of father I never had. The one who loves his daughter so fiercely. The one who would take away all of her pain if he could. The one who would treat her like a princess. I’m proud to say my husband has kept his promise.
Growing up my father didn’t have a big presence. In some respects, I don’t fault him for that. He suffered on and off from mental illness my whole life. He wasn’t there for most of the important events of my life. He missed out on my first date, my first kiss, and so many more firsts. He even refused to attend my wedding.
Thankfully, I married a man who makes me feel like a treasure. He’ll stop at nothing to make sure that he never loses me. Over the course of our 17-year marriage, he’s had to make a lot of sacrifices. Currently, he’s teaching in a city 50 miles away from us. He is up before the rooster crows and home long after the sun sets. He knows this is what he needs to do to provide for our family. I know it’s not easy for him.
That night when I was chatting with my daughter about her future husband, I explained to her how her father was such a good man. She also knows my father had many flaws. She is aware of some of the heartache he put me through. But today she’s dreaming of her own future. I’m so glad she doesn’t see herself (she has autism and bipolar disorder) or others with disabilities as less. That makes my heart smile from ear to ear.
Once I told her she could marry a boy who might have challenges like her own or any other boy with disabilities, her innocence shown through. She looked up at me and replied, “That’s good ’cause there are at least two boys I like right now.” I had to stifle a little chuckle at that response.
The Mighty is asking the following: What do you want your past, current or future partner to know about being with someone with your disability, disease or mental illness? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.