My Holland (A Repost)

This is something that I wrote under NOTES on FB on Aug. 17, 2010. I wanted to get it on my blog.

My Holland

I do not even know if I can explain in words my feelings this week. I have lived through sending my oldest to college and the bittersweet feelings that it brings to a parent’s heart. I was right there, fighting the tears and struggling with the inner turmoil that tries to accept such a big change in life.
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So….I am in no way, undermining anyone who is experiencing this feeling in the coming weeks. Many of my friends have children going off to college and my heart and my prayers are with them. I hurt for them on one hand and rejoice with them on the other.

This year, another dimension comes into my thoughts and feelings. These are my own to bear and I don’t take away from the feelings of pain or joy from anyone else. But what I am facing on my own, is the fact that this is the year that Korie is suppose to be packing and going off to college. We are suppose to be done with sports, graduation, that decision of where to go and what classes to take. Korie and Kristin could be going off together. Steve and I could be ready to experience the “empty nest” with no children at home and freedom to explore our own relationship again.

Instead, Kristin goes off alone, I watch other mom’s saying good bye to their 18 year olds full of hopes and dreams. Yes….it’s a bit hard to take sometimes. I wish I was struggling with my goodbyes…Oh, our family has our joys in the little things….so I am not complaining…..I was THRILLED when Korie read GREEN EGGS AND HAM to me all on her own yesterday….so happy to have someone that loves me unconditionally and tells me she loves me everyday. I am a mom most blessed.

But that doesn’t stop my feelings of “what could have been” if God had not chosen me for this task. Most days, I am up for it!!! Ocassionally, on days like today, when school starts up again, I struggle a bit more. I found a poem that best describes my feelings on days like last May, during graduation and days like this week, when college looms around the corner…it’s called:
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WELCOME TO HOLLAND

by 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.

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Donna again….So, I will turn back to my “Holland” and see the good things that I have that others don’t. I may mourn some days but when my perspective is correct and I realize that it is GOD that took me to Holland…then I can take a deep breath and enjoy Holland. For in Holland, you are told how much you are loved…every day!! 

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