For any parent that has a child with special needs, I am sure you have heard the poem, “Welcome to Holland”, by Emily Perl Kingsley.
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 Sistine Chapel, Gondolas. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting. After several 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 guidebooks. 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. You begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. And 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 experience will never, ever, ever, go away. The loss of that dream is a 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.
Exactly one year ago today, I heard the pilot tell me I would not be going to Italy. Rather, I heard, “your flight will be landing in Holland.” One year ago today, my smooth sailing flight to Italy turbulently rocked. It jolted my heart through miles of tears and unimaginable pain until that fateful June night when I finally stepped off my jet plane and saw my Holland. My BEAUTIFUL Holland.
After 1 year of being in Holland, learning the language and admiring the culture of Holland, I can honestly say, I can’t imagine being in Italy. I am in Holland and it is beautiful. It doesn’t take away the pain of the experience. One year ago today, my world as I knew it would never be the same. My heart broke and my dreams had to change. I was right, my world isn’t the same….I have been through more pain than I could have imagined, but I have grown. I have gotten stronger. I have more love in my heart than I thought I could have. Holland is beautiful. Now I know I was always meant to be in Holland. This was where I was meant to go.
This is what I see in my beautiful Holland.
Smiles. Smiles beyond belief. They may be toothless, but I have never seen such a smiley baby.
Laughter. I knew Tough Guy would bring laughter to this world. After all, his name means laughter. Not only does he bring laughter, his laughter is contagious.
Courage. Courage to look to the future and only looking with positive eyes. Nothing will stop him.
Strength. I have had one surgery in my whole life and that was to safely deliver Tough Guy. It was scary, but I got through it and came out stronger. Tough Guy has been through two major surgeries in his short little life and not only comes out stronger, but makes others stronger too.
Hope. He makes me dig deep into the depths of my soul and live in a state of constant hope and in constant belief in miracles.
Faith. Tough Guy helps me understand sacrifice. He brings me closer to God and opens my eyes to the secret of life. If I could heal him, I would in an instant, but I know the only way I can help is by prayer and belief. Tough Guy comes to us exactly the way he is for a great purpose; I am sure of that.
Love. Just love. It’s that simple. If the world just loved, imagine how beautiful this world would be.
Yes, My Holland is Beautiful.