Tags: Barton Cutter, daily living, disability, disability and humor, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, disability and sex, wheelchairs
This morning, I got Barton up extra early (4:30am) as he has an interview in Greensboro (keeping my fingers crossed). As Barton did his early morning standing and walking across the living room floor, he asked me to tighten the screws on his foot petals. Why? We know all too well how Barton can come home with big clunks of metal in his briefcase. At least he has found someone to pick up the foot petal or whatever has fallen off when he’s out and about.
When Barton got his stander/walker just after we were married- it came in a huge box with many pieces of metal, screws, plastic covers, and a book of instructions. We spread the pieces all over the floor, and not being engineering inclined, I poured over the instructions. How was it that Barton told me to throw out the instruction manual and include a piece here, don’t use this piece here. I was in tatters trying to follow his logic, but it was exactly what he wanted.
Since that time, I have learned the ins and outs of wheelchair repair and the challenges of wheelchairs on the road. Barton is definitely a road warrior. He’ll come home with stories of his bus catching on fire, getting lost trying to take a shortcut, walking in a thunderstorm in the winter, buses not working. Running out of battery when he was taking me out on a date night. And the infamous times when we broke Barton’s wheelchair, you know, the old fashioned way.
You name it- he has been through it. What would we do without duct or electrical tape? We would truly be lost.
I used to fret and worry when Barton’s out on the road- okay- I still do, but as long as he comes home in one pieces (or carrying all the pieces), I’m happy.
Tags: Adoption, disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, disability and sex, Infertility, infertility and disability, interability marriage, Megan Cutter, vision
Even before Barton and I were married, we had dreams of having children. We talked about it often, even named them. When we found out that we would not be able to have children naturally, the way we had envisioned, we both took it really hard and grieved in different ways.
Once we began to talk about different options that we were or were not considering, we were met with the long list of questions and opinions from others, family, friends. In each one, there was a sense of concern, shame and failure.
Compounding this sense of failure was that we were faced with questions of how we would manage with time, energy, financially, and support. Nearly every one of my friends were pregnant, but we were being told that we should not have a family because we would not be able to manage with Barton’s disability. Instead of looking at the missing pieces to find strategies on where & how fill in the holes, I did the worst thing I could have done- I believed them.
I completely shut down, and so did Barton. I threw myself into trying to be it all in everything else – in my work, getting Barton up in the morning, getting home very late at night, housework. Once Barton even told me he never wanted to be a father, completely denying the dreams we shared together when we first met.
Recently, I have found a small contingent of women who have been through similar experiences or conceived using other techniques. Whether it was through medical technology or adoption, many stories began to seep out. It wasn’t until I began meeting other women who shared these experiences that I stopped believing in the illusions that surrounded the beliefs about our own family.
Yesterday, I had lunch with a mother of two, and we talked about our paths. Afterwards, I realized how deep the sense of shame and failure had been, how detrimental it had been to cut myself off. How different and free I felt to even speak about our dreams, our visions, our challenges. I could ask the questions I was afraid to ask others because I knew the response I would get. I found myself believing again, and dreaming again.
Barton & I don’t know when or how it will work out. Whether we are successful at creating a family through medical advances, adoption, foster care or even in volunteering at a school or daycare. Slowly, we are shedding the shame and failure to find the vision and love we once had, and how important expanding our family is, to both of us.
Tags: daily living, disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, disability and sex, interability marriage, love, love story, Megan Cutter
So last night at the Pizza Party, we were telling stories about our wedding. The conversation started when someone mentioned that how you cut & feed the cake to each other has an impact on longevity of your marriage. I wonder what this says about us…
What was so special about our wedding was that we were truly able to adapt the ceremony to make it our own. When Barton put the ring on my finger, he used a small stick he put in his mouth with the ring attached on a string. We wrote and read our own vows. Our friends made a special ramp from the church alter to the aisle so that Barton could stand for the whole ceremony, and he walked us out of the church using a special walker. This was the first time his family had seen him stand and walk, so it was an incredibly powerful ceremony.
Now, for the cake. Which we must back up a little. Since Barton doesn’t have finger dexterity, it’s really hard for him to give me a piece of chocolate, for example. Instead, when we are being passionate, we’ll give each other chocolate through a kiss. It’s much more fun this way!
So when I took a piece of wedding cake and put it in my mouth, my matron of honor mentioned, “You have to feed him.”
My response was, “I am.”
How delicious to feed each other the wedding cake through a kiss.
Yesterday I received a special invitation for a Valentine’s date. I wonder if we’re having chocolate for dessert?
Tags: disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, disability and sex, love, love story, Megan Cutter, vision
Now, we won’t divulge all of our secrets over the Internet waves, but we will address intimacy, because there are still so many assumptions concerning those with disabilities and love/relationships. When I was working in the corporate world in Alabama, I would tell my friends or co-workers about Barton (at that time, no one had met him yet). I was unprepared for all of the questions about our intimate lives. While it might have been inappropriate for me to ask my co-workers about their private lives, I was hit with a barrage of questions and comments.
Well, how do you…you know? Can you…? So you’ll adopt children? My all time favorite, by a close mentor in fact, Well, does the plumbing work? Over and over I heard, You poor thing (the assumption I would never again have sex in my life).
There is an assumption that people with disabilities are asexual beings, so their partners and families must obviously be asexual as well. While it was so tempting to come up with snide retorts to these remarks, I realized that people weren’t trying to be rude, they just didn’t know. All of a sudden, Barton and I found ourselves in a position of opening people’s minds up to the possibility that yes, people with disabilities can create healthy intimate relationships.
Yesterday, I was riding in Barton’s lap down the street, all dressed up since we were headed to church. We noticed smiles from people driving by, who could see our obvious connection. Nearly everywhere we go, we continue to break down assumptions that people with disabilities can’t or shouldn’t have intimate relationships or families.
We almost fell into that trap, listening to the concerns that we shouldn’t get married. And we realized that while those who loved us may have had valid concerns about where we would live and how would we manage (there’s that manage word again), we had to follow our hearts, no matter what anyone said. If we had listened, we wouldn’t have found the love and connection that has sustained our marriage, through the tough times as well as the joyous ones.
So, you’ll have to wait until the book comes out to get all the juicy details, but yes, Barton and I are just like any other healthy couple in love. Just ask us…