Monday, April 30, 2012

That Holland story

Have you all heard the Holland story? The one that was written by a mom of a special needs kid to describe the experience. Essentially, she compares having a special needs kid to going through all the planning and anticipation of a trip to Italy, getting on the plane, arriving and having the flight attendant say "welcome to Holland". Which is not at all what you planned for, but still a great result.

I came across this a couple of times on Facebook this week- once it was posted for a local radio personality whose newborn baby has Down's Syndrome. And then my mom posted it and tagged some friends- one with a Down's Syndrome baby and another a young woman who is fighting breast cancer. And I saw it and thought "oh, that's great, I hope it encourages them." And then my mom did something that completely caught me off-guard- she tagged me in the post as well.

I never in a million years would have thought of this story as applying to my life.  Yes, I have a child with a feeding tube and a sensory disorder and lots of delays and stuff, but it's just part of who he is. He's also sweet and outgoing and has a crazy good memory.  And compared to some of the other kids in his special ed class, he's doing great and he certainly is doing better health-wise than SO many of the kids we run into at Children's Hospital.

Maybe if it was the pre-kids me looking at this situation, I would feel that the story applies. And I guess if you take a step back and look at it, my mom is right.

And maybe it's because I've never been one to really think about how things are going to turn out, at least not with the kids. If that makes any sense. I read pregnancy websites when I was pregnant with Ethan, but never read any books. I don't usually read parenting books or sites that tell me what to expect at different ages. I didn't have a birth plan.  I'm normally a totally anal-retentive planner, but for some reason I just don't do that with the kids. So maybe my lack of expectations changed how I perceive this?

I admit, having Ethan qualify for special education did throw me for a bit of a loop at the beginning. I'd spent a lot of time thinking about how I was pushed really hard to ACHIEVE! and BE THE BEST! and GET STRAIGHT A's all the time! and WHY ARE YOU JUST GETTING A MASTER'S DEGREE AND NOT A PhD. And then I married Daniel and he was a solidly average student and doesn't have any advanced degrees and he's super successful at his career. So I'd thought about how hard I would push them and thought about things like "would I push for gifted classes" and such.  I felt like I was okay with average, but delayed never occurred to me. But that was about the extent of my thinking about the whole thing and I got over it quickly.

This has turned into a very long rambling blog post.  Sorry- just trying to figure out my own brain.  And it's Monday morning, and the kids only let me drink half a cup of coffee, so that brain is not terribly functional yet :)

1 comment:

Annie said...

It's a good analogy - and struck a chord with me many years ago when my child was diagnosed with Autism. Things don't always work out the way we plan, but there are unexpected gifts and pleasures along the way, and we become better people because of it. Thanks for your post.