Musings from the Over Caffeinated Mom

Kids, Career and Caffeine

Day 38 – A Melancholy Day

Hello friends and welcome to day 38 of the 365 Days of Blog Marathon here at the Over Caffeinated Mom. I’m having kind of a down day, feeling a bit emotional. It’s been a roller coaster of a week with not one but two trips to the hospital with my son Jamie. For those that don’t know, my Jamie is a special needs child. When he was born he was given three months to live, this past February he turned 13. He is a joy and a treasure and I love him with all my heart. Having a child like Jamie is a challenge, you have good days and bad days, you try and keep the negative thoughts away, but it’s never easy. Today I’m going to share a poem that was given to me when Jamie was about a year old. It spoke to me in a way that few things I’ve ever read have. I still cry every time I read it. So grab a coffee and a tissue and enjoy.

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 guidebooks 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 some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. 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, 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.”

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because 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.

Written by Emily Perl Kingsley


I sincerely wish Ms. Kingsley had an official site I could point to, but I was unable to locate one. If you happen to find it please let me know. This poem was written about explaining autism, however it so wonderfully captures the essence of the start of the journey for any parent of any special needs child. As always thank you for stopping by, and hopefully I’ll see you again tomorrow.

~Cheryl~

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2 thoughts on “Day 38 – A Melancholy Day

  1. A very touching and honest poem, I can understand why it means so much to you.

    All of us have so much to learn from our children, they are our guides and they can open our eyes to so much that we never imagined – thank you so much for sharing this, Jamie sounds like an amazing little fellow, and long may you have him in your life

  2. I read this same thing when my Nick was just about 2 months old. It completely captures the heart of what it is like to raise a special needs child. I am so glad to have found your blog! And I am enjoying going back through your older posts:)

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