My oldest son, Francis, recently got married. Despite being legally blind, he had graduated with a doctorate from Cambridge University in England, and has been working for a computer conglomerate in California for the past five years. While living alone, he walked to work, prepared all of his own meals, (purchasing groceries from a nearby store and pushing them home in an umbrella stroller, which he found much easier to use than the folding metal grocery carts,) did his own laundry, paid his own bills, and functioned completely independently using adaptions for his vision. He had conquered Cambridge University alone, which demonstrated he could definitely succeed. He had also succeeded in becoming a licensed captain for sailing and skiing Black Diamond trails in the Swiss Alps. Definitely an intelligent and capable young man with only the minor inconvenience of not being able to see well.
While successful in his independence, like everyone, he searched for that “special someone.” Working twelve hour days, six days a week, he did not have much free time to socialize in the community, and he did not see himself going to a bar to “pick someone up”. He did what he had done his whole life…utilized the computer to accomplish his goal. He had a method for his computer match-ups…first meet them for coffee, than lunch, then dinner and then decide if it was a relationship he wanted to pursue. After a few false starts, he finally found his significant other. They loved spending time together and had many things in common. The one good thing they did NOT have in common was that she had a car and she could drive! Although Francis was very adept at using public transportation, it was nice not to have to spend quite so much time traveling.
And so they got married last month. The got married outside under a gazebo. They wrote their own vows which were, as is my son, clever, humorous, heartwarming, touching and sensitive. They smiled and cried through the whole ceremony, which ended with them nailing shut a special wooden box with a bottle of wine which they had purchased on their first vineyard tour together. In the box, there was a slot, and they each submitted a copy of their wedding vows. On each anniversary, they would write each other a love letter and slip it into the box, which would be opened at their 25th wedding anniversary.
The theme of the wedding was computers. To make a long story short, she had asked him to help her with the theme for the wedding. Not being very knowledgable in this area, he jokingly said “Computers”, and she ran with it as a theme. The wedding invitations were computers, the wedding cake was a stack of computers, the decorations were computers and so forth. They had even gone so far as to have computers made to wear on their head, although her “computer” had little bows on it. Their engagement photos included a picture of them wearing their computer gear, holding hands.
The reception was wonderful, with Francis and his new wife smiling ear to ear, giggling or laughing the whole time. Their love for each other filled the room with joy. I was asked to give a speech, and this is a summary; “I don’t care how old our children are, they are always our children. I always worried about Francis, and especially about his dangerous activities such as skiing down the Black Diamond slopes. He knew I was petrified he would ski into a tree and get hurt, or worse. When he went skiing in Switzerland, he sent me a picture of him standing proud at the top of the slope, dark goggles reflecting the sun, a big smile on his face. ”See, mom, no trees on the Alps” he wrote. I was so proud of my son who, at the age of 24, still knew his mother worried about him and wanted to reassure her that he was okay. I was relieved he would not be facing any dangers on those slopes…and it wasn’t until years later that I learned there may be no trees on the Alps, but avalanches are common! At any rate, this wedding day is the happiest of my life because it is the happiest day of my son’s life. He has found the perfect mate, someone who shares the same interests, someone who loves his cooking, and someone who drives! She has to be the most perfect person in the world for him…how many other engaged women do you know who would wear a computer on their head for their engagement photo? And so I congratulate the both of them on this momentous occasion. As his mother, I know I don’t have to worry about him any further.”
As parents there are many times we wonder how our children, especially our children with disabilities, will “end up”. I can breath a sigh of relief. Francis has “ended up” just fine…
Don’t forget…my new book “The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane” is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and I-Books!