Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Welcome to HOLLAND!!!

I often go through months or days/weeks of time just going through the motions of being mom to a disabled child forgetting how different it is to the every day life of most families. The schedule is crazy and yes-things slip through the cracks at times but my kids are most important in life.

Then there are the days I feel isolated and lonely in the crowd knowing my child will never be just like all the others and watching friends/peers outgrow whatever stage in life we are in. I need things like this story to help me realize that I'm not the only one and also that even though our journey is different, its beautiful none the less!


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 guidebooks 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
am supposed to be in Italy. All my life I have 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 out 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?and
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, very significant loss.

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


Liz said...

Oh my, what a great story. I guess you could say that while we planned to go to Italy we ended up in say Germany. It's not Holland and we won't see the things that you get to see. It's not Italy and we won't see the things that most of our friends see. But all the same, Germany ain't so bad and we will have experiances that the other don't have. Thanks I needed this story. Even though my experiance isn't your experiance it's good to remember that different isn't bad.

Lydia said...

I never thought about it like that. In both cases, they are new places to explore and learn. And where there might be more people that seem to plan and visit Italy, they are both full of new experiences. And while I might be in Italy, Holland sure does sound interesting. So if you're willing I'd love to learn more about it.

Call Family said...

Thanks Lydia,

I guess every once in awhile I just look around and realize how much time I am with my kids and the lack of social life I seem to have-I miss having girl time!

Don't get me wrong-I love my boys but I think I have lost me in a way, now I am mom and wife and I haven't taken the time to preserve my own self!

Holland has many beautiful things about it with a few bumps along the way!!!

bloofan said...

It doesn't help that I am in a particularly weepy mood, but your post just made me sob. I am so proud of you for what a good mom you are. I hope that if I get to be a mom someday, I can be like you. You are just amazing. You bring out the angel in your son because you give him a happy and safe place to develop in the way that he can develop. Nobody ever being around your children would see anything lacking in their upbringing. You may feel lonely, but know that you have built a bridge to your loved ones and given them the understanding of how to learn and grow from your family. Thanks for the post.