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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Breathe, regroup, and Holland...again

The past few weeks have been difficult. The past week, to be specific has been very trying. A few things have triggered some raw, sad emotions regarding my son. I am fine, so is he... I am just exhausted. I'm sure, like everyone, we all face the ebb and flow of emotions. Please don't feel sorry for us, that is not what the intent of this is. This post is a reminder of all that is great in my life. I need to continue to remind myself this. I find, I have been so busy, so overwhelmingly exhausting. Things build up, and I need to take a deep breath and refocus and regroup. I am sharing this again. It has helped me. Again.

Welcome to Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley


I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...


When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.


After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome To Holland".


"Holland?!?" you say, "What do you mean "Holland"??? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy"


But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.


The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.


So you must go and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.


It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills...Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.


But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned".


And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.


But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things...about Holland.

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