4/03/2013

Holland is Pretty Great

Woo-ee, people.  Yesterday.

Dang.

Seriously.  I cried all dad-gum day.

Going public with Lucas's autism was absolutely the right thing to do.  But writing yesterday's post was not easy for me.  Ripping my heart out of my chest and laying it out on the table for everyone to see.  I was so touched by the outpouring of love and support that we received.  It was really overwhelming.  Thank you so much for all of your messages, emails, and phone calls.  Overwhelming.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Someone sent this to me a while back, and I think it captures so perfectly the journey of having a special needs child.  I didn't write it, but I really wish I did.
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Welcome to Holland

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

When you're going to have a baby, it is 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 of Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It is all very exciting.

After months of anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bag 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 has been a change in flight plan, they have landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they have not taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It is just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met before. It is just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy. It's less flashy than Italy. But after you have 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, and Holland even has Rembrandts.

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

And the pain of tha
t will never, 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 go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland. 

Written by Emily Perl Kingsley (in 1987) 
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photo from Holland...  they have a Williams-Sonoma there.

3 comments:

Lib Perry said...

This made my heart smile. I have a sister with special needs and it was tough for her growing up. The Lord gave her three sisters like he gave your Luke three brothers. You and Chris are amazing parents and people. One day, when I finally venture back out to Oklahoma (it's been 10 years--eek!) it would be lovely to meet up with you all. I think your Luke and my Jake would get along splendidly.

Miranda Thompson said...

I must say, Lucas makes Holland look pretty terrific. With God on your side, & your strong family unit; wherever the destination on this journey, it's sure to be nothing short of beautiful. ~ Miranda

ElizaJaneInk said...

I've heard this before- it's so beautiful! Lucas makes my day everyday! He is so lucky that he has you as his mama :)

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