Most of every day we forget that we landed in Holland the day that Matthew was born. We don't really think about it much. We are typically in the moment, balancing work and life with 3 young kids. Mostly, we are joyful that we are where we are, with the life that we have.
Once in a while though, we will pass by a billboard for Italy. And we will remember, 'oh yes, we were supposed to go there'. It may be seeing a child half Matthew's age that is doing something that he can't yet do, or seeing a picture of Alyssa or Jackson at the age that Matthew is now and remembering back to what life was like with them at this age. This isn't Italy.
And sometimes we are reminded, not just that this isn't Italy, but that we are in Holland, like when the neurologist said "He might not have full verbal capabilities". And today, the kids and I went to the Holland visitors center. Actually, it was a special needs fair sponsored by the Baylor College of Medicine's genetics department, but it easily could have been the visitors center. Every one was so helpful, and so nice, but I had a hard time holding back tears while I walked table to table. Even 2+ years later, it is still tough sometimes. We are in Holland.
Once in a while, we run into a family that was on that same diverted flight to Holland. When we do, it feels like we are old friends though we had never met before. A few days ago, I received an email from a mom who has a little girl with a 4q duplication. Her duplication is very similar to Matthew's-- sharing 8 of 10 segments and she is just a few days younger than he is! The manifestations of her duplication are a bit different than Matthew's, but there are some amazing similarities. They share similarly unique ears, thumb anomalies, heart issues, and even some of the same personality traits-- including that sweet disposition. As well, I just received a message from another mom who has an infant son with a rare chromosome disorder here in Houston. We are planning to go to lunch soon to meet. Thankfully, we are definitely not alone in Holland.
It really is just brief moments of sadness and jealousy when we remember this wasn't what we had expected. After those moments pass, we remember that we are blessed because Holland really is a beautiful place... a place where our sweet baby Matthew runs through the tulips.