Tag Archives: Family

The Mother of Invention

This weekend I got to spend some time with my twin. I have not seen her in quite a while because she lives in another state and has a large family, which makes it hard to travel. The distance sucks, but we talk a lot, and even when we don’t there is a bond that no one can touch. I think it would be awesome if every disabled person in the world had a twin. Unfortunately that is not something we can market on the UNlimiters’ website.

My twin has been an invaluable part of my UNlimited life. When we were young she was my constant companion and I would work hard trying to keep up with her. In turn, she would adapt her play for me or help me do something. We were always conniving, her and I. I remember when we had a bunk bed as kids. We both really wanted me on the top bunk, so she pushed and I pulled and somehow we got me to the top bunk. We were thrilled; but then, of course, we couldn’t get down from the top bunk.Then there was the time she tied my trike to her bike and tried to tow me along behind her. It worked for about 5 seconds before I tipped over and was almost hit by a car.

She wasn’t always nice, though. We may have been twins but we were still sisters, and sisters can be mean sometimes. She didn’t always enjoy having me tag along. Sometimes our parents forced her to take me with her in the wagon or my stroller; on these occasions she would take me far enough that I was out of sight and earshot of the house, then leave me stranded while she went to play. She also liked to make me pee my pants when she was feeling extra mean.

These days, she has given up on most of her mean tricks. She is still my best partner when it comes to adaptability, though; she is always helping me come up with new ideas. Even though she doesn’t have CP, my sister seems to understand the way my body works in a way that other people don’t. This makes her a good person to brainstorm with. For example, this last weekend we were at a party at our other sister’s house. A bunch of us were sitting on a blanket playing with my baby niece; but I had to lie down on the blanket because I cannot sit up independently on the ground.

I could have easily sat in a chair, but I wanted to feel included. As I was holding myself up, my twin thought that the wrap she uses to hold her baby hands free could be tied around me in a way that would support my back and allow me to sit up independently. There was a lot of giggling, my oldest niece and my mother thought we had gone crazy, but after some thinking and a few strategically placed knots we came up with this:

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It worked, but after fifteen minutes my neck started to hurt, so the design needs some tweaking. Of course, after we posted the picture of Facebook, my ever practical college roommate suggested that this stadium chair might be an easier solution. I will have to try it; if it works I might be a little sad. My twin and I were sure that we had struck gold with this particular idea.

Maid of Honor: Wheelchair Style

Next Saturday my little sister is getting married. Yes, the little munchkin who was born when I was in first grade is marrying the love her life. And she’s been in quite the epic romance. This wedding is a longtime coming.

My sister is marrying her longtime boyfriend who she met in high school, eighth grade actually, and they’ve never dated anybody else.  This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s 100% real.

So when my sister asked me to be her Maid of Honor earlier this year I was thrilled. I haven’t however ever been a Maid of Honor until now. All of the responsibilities, formalities and traditions that a Maid of Honor carries out is something I’m learning on the fly, but when it’s your sister, everything is that much more important. I also feel an extra sense of responsibility in making sure I’m a fabulous Maid of Honor because of my disability, and here’s why.

I was injured when I was 14 years old and my sister was only 8. I’ve have always felt I short-changed her in some ways by not giving her the full able-bodied sister experience she deserved – being able to go on bike rides with her, waterskiing together, none of that ever happened because of my paralysis. I’ve sometimes felt like even though I’m the oldest sister, she’s been more of the older sister because she’s had take on more responsibilities. So naturally, since I’ve always felt guilty over this, I’m determined to be the best Maid of Honor as humanly possible.

And to be a great Maid of Honor requires you to know the bride intimately, to anticipate what she needs before she asks so you can make her day as perfect as possible. You should remind her that she’s beautiful, give her the creature comforts she needs to feel ready to walk the aisle.  It’s a lot of planning. Sure, I can’t do some of the physical deeds of a Maid of Honor such as holding her train, but I can hold her bouquet on my lap perfectly.

Possibly the most important task of the Maid of Honor however is to give a speech at the reception.  I’ve been working on this for awhile, trying to make sure I say everything that needs to be said (I would feel so bad if I forgot a funny story and didn’t include it).The purpose of a Maid of Honor speech of course is to talk about why the new couple are going to be so happy. Stories and memories you have of them during their courting that are indelibly romantic are highly encouraged.  Pretty much anything that can make the crowd laugh or cry is a winner.

I think though that looking the part will be the most stressful of all.  I want to look perfect in the photos, and that requires a lot of annoying chores that must be done to the body. A good fake tan is a must, and I always reach for Jergen’s NaturalGlow.  It’s not easy getting your lower legs naturally tan can when you’re sitting down and pasty white skin is not attractive, I don’t care what Dita von Teese says.

5 minute teeth whitening gel is also my secret go-to beauty enhancer, and it’s a lot cheaper than those white strips you can buy. I will be applying this gel all week  every time I brush my teeth. And last but not least, a good foundation. I’m a big fan of L’Oreal’s Airbrush Perfect Foundation, mainly because of the word “perfect” in the title heh. This stuff makes your skin look great in photos.

At the end of the day however, we must brush vanity aside and enjoy the day for what it is – the coming together of two souls that can’t live without one another so. Gosh, talk about romantic. To see who has helped me through so many rough times join herself to the perfect man is truly one of those life moments that transcends disability.

Congrats sis xxoo.

Have you been in a wedding party? How were your responsibilities different because of your disability?

At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.

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