alt=two people in a relationship sit at a table across from each other. The man is in a wheelchair and the woman is in a regular chair, with her hand on his.

How I Met Mike

One of the great things about little kids is that they have no filter. For example, when adults see someone with a physical disability, they usually politely avert their eyes, they try not to stare, and they usually don’t ask questions either.

But, when I met Mike, I was at the YMCA with my daughter, Ava, who was three years old at the time. She marched right up to him and said “Hey mister! What’s wrong with you?” Without any hesitation - So I guess you could say that broke the ice!

The first thing I noticed about Mike

Mike is great with kids, he is loud and animated and kids adore him. I think the first thing I noticed about him besides of course the scooter and the SMA was his loud voice.

He always shouts across the pool to the lifeguards or the other regulars, a boisterous “Hello, how ya doin?” And so between that and the scooter, he’s hard to miss!

I can be a bit of a wallflower myself, so I was instantly attracted to his outgoing personality.

Happy and positive despite SMA

Now, when I say I was attracted to him I mean, I was drawn to him. I never thought we would end up in a long-term committed relationship.

I was curious to know how someone with such a severe disability, like SMA, could be so happy and positive. Here I am with full use of my arms and legs, but I have constantly struggled with depression and anxiety. I wanted to know what his secret was.

That day we talked about music, Mike is a die-hard Parrothead. He loves Jimmy Buffet. I have a more eclectic taste in music and one of my all-time favorites is Nina Simone. He said he’d never heard of her. I was surprised!

That night I sent him a song that I love and he said “she can’t sing.” I was floored.

Becoming the caretaker in our relationship

Mike has a sarcastic personality and I sometimes don’t know when he’s being funny or serious. He definitely keeps me on my toes.

Mike and I met 6 months after my ex-husband and I separated. When we first started dating, I was still technically married but now we are officially divorced.

The divorce has been very difficult for me. I will try not to talk about it much because this is supposed to be about Mike and his disability.

I would just hate for anyone to get the wrong idea about our relationship. Yes, we are an “inter-abled” couple and yes I am the caretaker in the relationship.

How Mike has impacted my life

However, when I say Mike has helped me every bit as much as I help him that is no exaggeration. He saved my life!

Mike is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. He handles himself with such confidence and resolve. I find this impressive.

He doesn’t let SMA get in his way of living life. He has a calming and reassuring way of helping people find the positives in life. This has been a great resource in my life.

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