We received this from Darren’s sister, Matthew’s Aunt Karen.
“WELCOME TO HOLLAND
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'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.”
I cried as I read this. I am no longer mourning the fact that we didn’t go to Italy. We’ve been to Italy twice before. It’s wonderful, but I’ve never been to Holland. I’m excited that we are going to a different place. We'll enjoy and cherish Holland. It will be good for our family!
With that though, I am scared…when I think too far in the future, about all of the unknown. I’ve never been to Holland. What is it going to be like? How am I going to navigate my way around? Then I’m reminded again of what I realized that early morning before our hospital stay…this moment is the only one we’ve been promised. No one is promised a particular future.
At this moment, I am thankful we are joyfully experiencing the typical newborn issues (Matthew’s sleeping when he should be eating and awake when he should be sleeping) and learning the craziness of 3 kids 4 yrs old and under. I just need to be reminded (probably time and time again) that we’ll deal with tomorrow when it comes.
Thank you to everyone who sent welcome home messages and have followed and celebrated with us!