WELCOME TO HOLLAND
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 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 Rembrandt's.
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.
Yes.... I live in Holland.
I have for the last 9.5 years.
And I am having a hard time with it today!!!
Most days it's fine, most days I am happy to do the bidding that the Lord has given me. Most days I can say strongly and proudly, "I am the mom of a special child, and that is just who we are!"
But right now?
Right now I am so tired of struggling against people who don't understand my son.
Right now I am so tired of the blame, that somehow it is all my fault that he is how he is (and yes, I am getting a LOT of that recently from ignorant people).
Right now I want to scream "Welcome to MY world!!" to all of those who are having a difficult time with my son.
Right now I am tired and would love a trip to Italy, or England, or Australia, or Thailand, or New Zealand.... anywhere but Holland!
I know my peace will come back, that this is just a time of trail and transition, but seriously... so tired today!
And why you ask... why today are you tired?
It's been a rough few months, but it seems to be getting rougher and rougher. I am ready for this trial to be over and to start building health again, at least the kind of health that Holland has. But I don't get to control that timing, I just have to ride the current of people who have never read a single book on Holland! And that ignorance is more frustrating than ANYTHING. I am smart. I am educated. I know all about our Holland. But I am not being heard or respected and that hurts.
This morning Nathaniel had a HUGE rage over, of all things, brushing his teeth. Now part of my world with Nathaniel is STRICT ROUTINE. He has to have things in the same order day after day. But while he has been staying at my parent's that has not been happening. This morning I went to get him ready for the day (which had already started poorly with him and my mom) and I knew he has been sick. Now I am a little odd myself when it comes to brushing teeth, and especially when I am sick. I like to brush my teeth three times a day on a normal day, but when i am sick it's more like 5 or 6 times a day.... something about yucky germs in my mouth making me feel yuckier... weird, I know. So anyways, this morning I grabbed Nat's toothbrush and went to brush teeth with him. He went into a HUGE rage, so much so that I set the toothbrush down and said we would try again in 5 minutes when we were all in better moods. Nat STORMED off into the other room, and I just let him go to cool down. Just 2 or 3 minutes latter he was screaming that his teeth were falling out. Sure enough, when I went in there, he had tantrumed to the point that he knocked out one of his molars! Some days I just don't know what to do with this boy! So we are off to the dentist soon to see if it was a baby tooth or a permanent one.... praying for baby!
Things are a little better right now... but I am walking on egg shells in Holland today... wanna join me????