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This story was originally published on The Mighty.

Imagine having to choose between your life and marrying your significant other.

I have two rare chronic illnesses, Blau syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Both of these illnesses require extensive testing, blood work, appointments, and inpatient infusions on a regular basis.


If I were to marry, I not only lose my disability benefits, but I also lose my health insurance. If I were to lose my health insurance, my treatments that not only provide me with quality of life but literally keep me alive would be unaffordable.

Since I was diagnosed, I knew marriage was out of the question — not just because it would be a life or death choice, but because I believed nobody would ever want to have a relationship with me due to my significant health issues.

It’s one thing if your partner develops a major illness after you have connected, but quite another when you know exactly what the rest of your life together looks like. As much as we’d like to assume our partner could handle a major change in health, that isn’t always the case. The partners who can are wonderful people, just like my significant other.

When my health situation became bleak and I had exhausted my local options, I moved across the country to Minnesota to live near the major medical center that had been treating me for years. I settled into my new life, 2,000 miles away from my entire support system, including my family and friends. Thankfully, the treatments I moved for improved my health, and I had the energy and desire to make new friends.

A few years later, I met a man for dinner at a restaurant. Little did I know that introduction would drastically change my life forever.

While I never intended to have a romantic relationship with someone, as I grew to know him, it was clear he was able to look beyond my disabilities and just see me.

From the very beginning, I was open and honest, not only about my illness but about my inability to marry. If that was important to him, I always said, then he was with the wrong person.

For most who are unable to work due to disability, financial and medical assistance is immediately terminated upon marriage. Most government-based assistance programs are based on income, so if your spouse is employed, their income counts toward your limit and you become ineligible. Because I was disabled as a child, I am able to stay on my father’s private health insurance — as long as I don’t get married.

Through our discussions, we both agreed the real point of marriage is the commitment, not the legal aspect.

We always agreed that if we got to that point, we’d want to have a non-legal commitment ceremony where we publicly pledged our love to one another.

We aren’t having a ceremony because it seems like the next logical step. Our ceremony won't mean shopping for a beautiful dress, picking the perfect “first dance song,” or selecting a place-setting pattern. We aren’t having a ceremony so I can call him my husband. We are simply stripping down the ceremony to what we feel is the most important part of a marriage: the commitment between two people.

We won’t pretend we are married when we are not. We won’t have the same name, bank accounts, or any legal ties to one another. But we will continue to live as a committed couple for the rest of our lives. We simply choose to have our ceremony because our love and commitment is something we want to publicly share. To us, this makes the event that much more meaningful, personal, and special.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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