DEAR ABBY: I am engaged to the father of my son. We have been together for five years. He's in a wheelchair and has been since he was a child. I love him very much and am ready to be his wife.
Every time I would tell my mother we planned to be married, she'd give me a thousand reasons why marrying the man I love would be stupid. We are now at a point in our lives where we are financially stable and are finally ready. When I told Mom, she called me selfish and said she won't be there. I am heartbroken.
Am I a horrible person for marrying the man I love despite the fact that my family can't accept his disability? They keep asking if I understand the responsibility that comes with being with a person in a wheelchair. I know I can't change other people's minds, but do people really think it's bad for a walking person to marry a person in a wheelchair? -- ENGAGED IN MICHIGAN
DEAR ENGAGED: You're not a "horrible person," and yes, some people do harbor this prejudice. You appear to be a young woman with her head on straight, and I hope you won't allow your mother's refusal to attend your wedding to stand in the way of your happiness.
While there are some things people in wheelchairs can't do, there are many things at which they excel. Many people with disabilities earn a comfortable living using the muscle between their ears in careers such as law, counseling, teaching, Internet technology and more, and some have become fine craftsmen because of their manual dexterity. Perhaps if your family were to concentrate less on what your fiance can't do and more on the things he can, they'd be more accepting.