Meeting the parentsSep 23 04:30
Showing up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to meet your significant other’s parents is a hard enough job when you’re perfectly able-bodied. All you want to do is impress, but when you show up in a wheelchair, you’re not exactly what they doctor ordered. They say freshly baked brownies can win anyone over, but in this scenario, they’d have to be carried by Martha Stewart herself.
Meeting the in-laws when you have a disability is not exactly an experience you look forward to. You sometimes feel like the Grim Reaper, the bearer of bad news, as you represent an end to a dream they had about who their son or daughter would marry. Certainly no one envisions an in-law in a wheelchair. A doctor or lawyer of course, but a quadriplegic?
When you‘re the one with the disability, there‘s not much you can do. You can either abstain from dating and retire your Grim Reaper duties, or you can get used to an uphill battle every time you meet the parents. I once had a boyfriend who had a Dad I never met, but that didn’t stop him from telling his son why we’d never work. He was a psychologist who firmly believed people should be with likewise people, meaning wheelchair people should be with wheelchair people and the able-bodied with the able-bodied.
He said since there were so many activities we couldn’t physically do together, we would never last. While we didn’t end up stating together, I can tell you it wasn’t because we couldn’t go running together.
What’s their true fear? That you’ll bring your them down, be a roadblock to them achieving life happiness? Whatever they may be thinking, don’t lose hope. In time, I’ve seem most in-laws come around. They’ll see the joy you’re bringing into their child’s life, and that at the end of everything, is the most important thing.
What's your strategy when you meet the parents?
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1. Tara | Oct 11 01:42
I've met my share of in laws but didn't really give it much thought.. Now I'm in a very serious, happy could possibly be the one I will marry someday and I'm very nervous meeting his parents even though they seem to accept the fact I am a para and use a wheelchair. I'm even more nervous meeting his 19 year old daughter.. All of which I haven't seen yet but I've talked to his parents on the phone and they seem so nice and on one hand looking forward to it and on the other hand scared to death. I've heard people say before why would you date a girl in a wheelchair? Why would you settle? Obviously this isn't something you wanna hear from your boyfriends .. friends (not the one I'm dating now his friends are fantastic) Hopefully all will go well.. crossing fingers...
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.