my fantastic friend, meggan, emailed this to me a long time ago.
i've been writing how i feel about it, but haven't gotten my jumbled thoughts just right about it yet. about how my "trip to holland" brought out anxiety, and fear, and stress. how i have been working extremely hard the past year and a half to try to quiet that anxiety and let go.
i will finish writing my experience, because i think it's important. not just for me, but for other moms who have had a child with disabilities or extreme health problems that has brought out anxiety in them, because the letting go process has helped me enjoy being caleb's mother so much more than the anxiety did. the anxiety was a false sense of security that kept me wound up tightly, hyper-alert, taking away my ability to truly enjoy.
anyway, my piece will come. but until it does, read this. even if you haven't ever had a child with special needs, read between the lines and apply it to other situations in your life. whether it's becoming a parent, or a marriage that takes a turn, or a job that wasn't what you thought it would be, an unexpected death, or even that your life just isn't what you hoped. where you went into something expecting one thing, but finding another. there is the need to grieve the loss of certain things in life, and that's okay.
i've learned that once i've recognized and acknowledged the loss and grieved it, the most important part is releasing it. seeing the blessings that are there, in any situation.
WELCOME TO HOLLAND
Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 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 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 didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.