Saturday, February 27, 2010

Welcome to Holland

Thanks to Facebook and some Pompe email lists, we have met many people who are living the same life we are.  Some have passed these steps years ago while others are just beginning.  Anyways, a new friend sent me the following story which I thought you might enjoy.  This isn't about us or Pompe.  It has a message for everyone who's sharing this adventure with us or have landed in an unexpected place in life.

by: 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.

Last October, when Maddie was recovering from her muscle and liver biopsies and before we heard the word Pompe, Donna and Maddie worked outside planting bulbs in anticipation of Spring.  Now, those of us on the East Coast will have to wait a bit longer for the snow to melt and the flowers to arrive, but I have a feeling we will watch with extra anticipation for those Holland tulips to grow.  While we may have taken them for granted before, I'm sure they will be even more beautiful this year.

Enjoy the weekend,