"Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley
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 are planning to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation-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 Italy 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 have never 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 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 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.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Well...don't know if anyone out there can relate, but I'm beginning to realize that living with autism is a marathon. I always thought that since Seth got intervention at such a young age, that he would get better. I always thought if I gave every ounce of energy I had, I could still be sustained by the time he got "better." I am now realizing that I was treating my life as a sprint, when it is in fact, a marathon. Hard to swallow? Yes, I would say so! For the past three and a half years I've been waiting for some therapy to kick in and act as a miracle. I still have that hope, but I am learning that I need to accept. I need to accept Seth, accept life with all the challenges and just be content. Don't get me wrong, I would never turn back time, I wouldn't trade Seth for anything! He is literally my heart! My whole heart! I love him more than I thought my heart could ever love. I do though, wish that life could be more simple. Less routine, less screaming...more easy days. So, I am working on accepting that this will most likely be a life long journey. Better roads sometimes, bumpier roads other times. It is hard to swallow when you thought life would be different, but if I always focus on what I thought I would have had...I will never see the true joy and beauty that I DO HAVE in Seth! So, I will pray to accept more easily and keep my head up for this marathon of life I have been given. Realize my blessings and stay positive. I hope that everyone else with daily struggles can try and do the same. (even if it's just some of the time) :)