Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! This is the last post in the Trifecta of Love for this week. I hope you enjoyed Kristy’s and Julie’s posts, too! Enjoy the day and know that you are loved! At the very least, by me. – Ryan
When I asked Julie to “go out with me,” it was quite the event.
I made a scavenger hunt. I don’t remember all of it, but I do remember that it started with a note on my front door and at one point a card directed her to play “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon and another brought her to some roses. Ultimately, it ended at me and I asked her to be my girlfriend officially. That was December 18th, 1998. A week later Julie bought me a TV/VCR combo for Christmas.
I bought her a Celine Dion CD.
Clearly, we were moving in the same direction.
This week’s posts have all been about love. In Kristy’s case, looking for it, and in Julie’s case, finding it. A while back, Sam G. asked me through the Facebook Page, “Were you ever nervous you’d never find love because of your hand?” Kristy very eloquently answered that question on Tuesday and I’ll answer it today: no. That’s simplistic, but then, I’m a dude.
Truthfully, though, I never worried about it. My left arm was never a part of the equation, either. I had what I like to think was a completely normal dating life. I can’t remember ever bringing-up my arm, in fact. It just never crossed my mind. One of the only hand-specific things that I do recall about dating, was that I had to consciously make an effort to be on the girl’s left side when we were walking or going to the movies. Holding hands, ya know. That was about it.
Most parents are concerned about (read: worry) who their child will date and ultimately marry. That’s natural. I have two girls of my own. Enough said. I can understand, too, how parents of children with a limb-difference feel an even greater sense of concern. I know each child is different, but I feel like I can tell you confidently that you have nothing extra to worry about. Kids with limb-differences experience the same feelings as other kids. I know I did. What I mean is that, I was more self-conscious about my hair and zits and my clothes and my shoes and my breath than I ever was about my arm.
The truth of the matter is, I’m blessed. If you read yesterday’s post by my wife, you know how blessed I am. I found love. Actually, love found me. And I’m learning a lot about myself now that I wish I knew back then; back when I didn’t know what love actually was. I’m so thankful to be married to a woman who is patient and kind and funny and beautiful… She has helped me, especially in this last year, to delve deeply into my past, to learn about who I was and who I’ve become. I’m excited to continue learning how to love her better, from a place of authenticity. It’s fun to be twelve years in and yet, feel like there’s so much more to enjoy.
And none of that, my friends…none of it…has to do with the fact that I have one hand.
So, I urge you not to worry about your child finding love. I encourage you to help them experience true love. Love them unconditionally. And incessantly. If you do this, you will enable them to give true love to others and ultimately find another to share it with forever.
And maybe, just maybe, they’ll find someone as amazing as I did.