Mar 14, 2015

Welcome to Holland

Anna has been on my mind constantly these past few weeks. We think she may have another syndrome on top of her original diagnosis of Gorlin Syndrome, and we're waiting for her test results to come back. Any day now. (It's been 'any day now' for a week, which makes it frustrating.)

If she does have this new thing, I'll share more. (I've found that there's a fine line when you have a blog. How much should I share? Will my sharing help others? If the answer is yes, I try to share as much as possible with you.) 

I've wanted to write more about my journey with Anna, but it just hasn't been the right time. I've written posts in my head for weeks, and then days later I'm so glad that I waited. I was just about to go to bed a few minutes ago, when God told me to write. So, here I am. I don't have much to share right now, but Welcome to Holland is a good place to start. This poem is well-known in the special needs community, although it obviously is applicable to pretty much every life situation where our expectations differ from our realities.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

Welcome to Holland

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.

Yep. That's where I am. Holland. Not sure if I'm still sitting on the plane, or walking down the little hallway thingy they attach to the gate at the airport, or if I'm standing by the baggage claim in a daze. Jury's still out.

And while I can understand why some parents don't agree with this poem, it's been a huge comfort to me lately, and I really feel God calling me to share this with you tonight.

Debra Jenkins, founder of the amazing Merrimack Hall in Huntsville, Alabama, created this beautiful performance with the author's permission. Please click here or below to view.

(Isn't she adorable? I'm so stinkin' in love with this sweet face!)

I'll keep you posted about Anna's test results. In the meantime, thank you so much for your concern and prayers. Continued prayers for peace are appreciated.

Good night, friend.

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  1. Simply beautiful! Praying for you and sweet Anna!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I love watching your posts here and FB!!! Love watching God work through your journey! Love, Jo

  3. Thank you for sharing. Praying for you and your family as you wait for results. Leesa

  4. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate glimpses into others lives and the journey they are on. I also read your link to why people might not like this poem and I apprecaited you sharing that too, which makes me adore you even more. Prayers for your sweet baby girl. One thing is for sure.....the Lord has a special purpose for both of your girls! Hugs.

  5. Thank you for deciding to write this post! It was good to read about our expectations in Holland vs. Italy, and it was good to read the "opposing" viewpoint you linked, too. As a Christian, I think the one thing that I can always be grateful for is that no matter where my parenting travel plans might take me, I have a heavenly Father who knows every detail of my itinerary and is on the phone for me 24/7. :) Prayers for you guys in the days and weeks to come!


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