Friday, November 2, 2012

Welcome to Holland

Everybody always said that becoming a parent would be the toughest job you would ever have. I would have to agree, but I would also have to say that becoming the parent wasn't hard, nor were the years prior to Reese's birth. The difficulty began when we added the second child. Suddenly our whole world changed. Doing things just wasn't quite as easy with two kids. Taking two kids everywhere wasn't a walk in the park, but it got better, and then it got worse. Everyday since I realized Reese had her differences I struggle to believe it could be true, or that it could indeed be a lifelong "problem" we may all have to cope with.... Everyday I get angry with myself for not wanting to be the Mama to a child with disabilities even though when a dear friend of mine had a scare that her own child had down-syndrome I stated, "if anybody can do this, it's you". Everyday I have to force myself to do her therapy with her, when in reality I would rather skip doing it, so that I can pretend all is well. Everyday I wish, hope and pray that it will all just go away. Reality is that it likely won't and it definitely won't if I DON'T help her. Everyday I pray that my sadness towards this whole situation will change to an overwhelming desire to help her. Everyday I pray that I can become the parent that I always admired, who advocated their hearts out, fought the fight and did all that they could for their child with disabilities, because right now, I have a lot of room to improve.
The other day, I read this poem:

by Emily Perl Kingsley

©©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley.

All rights reserved
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 ofpestilence, 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 didn't get to Italy,
you may never be free to
enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ...
about Holland.
This poem is so fitting, and so, so, true. I have indeed been given a different challenge as a Mother. I was given "Italy" first with Nora, and now I am given Holland. I am going to believe that I was given this "gift" because God thought for me, going to Italy wasn't challenging enough. I just hope that I don't fail in Holland. Afterall, it is indeed quite the challenge =0)


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