Chris and I first met on Bumble in April of 2023. I wasn't feeling very well, so I delayed our first date for three weeks. In the end, this meant that we spent endless hours writing back and forth via Bumble and then via text. By the time I met Chris in person I think we had already begun to fall in love with one another.
I have searched for a very, very, very long time for a life partner. I have dated a lot. With Chris, everything feels different. He's my best friend and my lover. We are magic together.
And finally, I have found a man who loves me for me. Not because of or in spite of my disability.
Just because I am me.
Ellie and Hank are such a focal point of why and how we fell in love.
One of the most difficult parts of introducing myself to a potential 'match' is how to answer the question: What do you do?
Chris noticed that I not put any sort of job description in my profile. He never asked: What do you do?
I took note of this.
As we chatted a bit more over Bumble, I asked about his children. This is the moment our conversation went from more surface to a deeper emotional connection.
Chris shared with me about Ellie, including her disability. He hit return. Then he wrote another paragraph about his autistic son, Hank.
And then he waited anxiously for a response.
Just as I do when I share that I don't work because I am disabled.
Because anyone who is out in the dating world knows that this is the moment people disappear. It's a conversation ender.
Once he told me about his children, I was able to say: thank you for sharing about Ellie and Hank. I, too, am disabled.
Chris immediately asked me to share more and said he wasn't afraid of anything.
I think it was at this moment that something shifted for me. His understanding of disability and his compassion for his children and me was like nothing I'd ever experienced.
For the first time in my life, my disability and all of the complicated feelings, finances and needs that come with it were something that Chris was easily able to navigate. I am vulnerable and safe with him in ways I've never been before. We are a team, and our 'good enough' is always good enough.
Chris was there for me right after my uterine ablation last August, and tag teamed with my mom to take care of me. His comfort with disability has meant that he wants to know all about my appointments and talks with me about decisions, that he's judgment free about what I can and cannot do, and that he helps with caregiving in a healthy and generous way.
For Chris and me, disability is NORMAL. It is just a part of life. We have two disabled children and a disabled partner in the relationship. Our normal is so different from others, but it's how life should be--disability should be normalized.
Chris says that on our first date, as he saw me walking towards him and smiled, he knew I was the one. Our first date lasted six hours. It was magic.
We are magic together. Ellie was magic. We were magic together as a family of four.
We had such a short time together as a family before we lost Ellie. We are committed to finding new magic again. Some days we wonder what the path forward will look like, who we are without Ellie, and who we are with Hank who misses his sister so much. But we are doing this. One hour at a time, one day at a time, and sometimes, one breath at a time.
I've never been madly in love like this. I've never met such a beautiful human. I'm so grateful we found one another.