Childhood Friends Become Sweethearts

Matt Thies and Cindy Carter

Matt Thies saw his chance with Cindy Carter, the girl he adored for years, when she broke up with her boyfriend for the sixth time in five years.

“I said to myself, ‘This is your chance. Ask her,’” Matt said.

So he did. (As he tells the story, the grin on Matt’s face is ear-to-ear.)

“I said, ‘Cindy, will you marry me?’” Cindy looked a bit dumbfounded at the question, according to Matt. But she said, “Yes!” nonetheless. Only later, she said, did she think, “What have I gotten myself into?”

The two clearly enjoy their time together. They can complete each other’s sentences and speak tenderly to one another.

Matt is 41 and Cindy, 47. Their road to romance was a bit rocky.

The two have known each other since they were children. They met at school – Cindy felt lonely as a new student. She also stood out because she was wearing a body cast following a hip surgery.

“I was in tears,” Cindy said. “I didn’t know anybody. Matt came to sit by me.”

They became friends quickly. But maintaining the friendship wasn’t easy.

When he was about 10, Matt moved to Colorado with his mom. He wasn’t happy about it, he’ll tell you.

“I missed Cindy so bad,” he said. “I was homesick. I wanted to be closer to Cindy.”

He had difficulty keeping in touch with his friend. Matt said the provider organization he was with would only allow him to place calls to his mother and sister.

But in 2003, Matt was able to move back to Omaha. He moved into a duplex, and Cindy lived on the other side.

“I was at home, and the staff person said, ‘I have a surprise for you,’” Cindy said. The staff member opened the door and, “The face was Matt!”

Problem solved? Together happily ever after? No. Cindy was dating someone else. That’s why, later, when Matt saw his opportunity, he knew he had to act quickly.

Over time and for different reasons, each of them moved from that duplex into other living arrangements, not uncommon for people with disabilities. They talked regularly and went on dates, but that wasn’t always easy, because Cindy moved into a host home in a community about 30 miles away from Matt.

They finally got married in 2014. The ceremony was in the back yard of Cindy’s Mosaic at Home provider.

Today, they’re still living separately, waiting to find a Mosaic at Home provider with a wheelchair accessible home and a bedroom for each of them—they don’t plan to share a room.

Seeing each other is easier now, though. Cindy moved back into a Mosaic group home, and Matt lives with a Mosaic at Home provider not too far away.

They’ll be persistent until they reach their goal of living together.

“We love each other,” Cindy said.

“And, we don’t believe in divorce,” Matt added.

Matt has his own YouTube channel. You can see his work here.

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