When I registered for this blog a few months ago I never imagined that we would be in the place we are now!
I used to write a diary every day but since becoming a working mum it has become harder and harder to do. I wanted to embrace technology and write this blog to record Ethan’s memories. A place where I could share all of our adventures with our family and friends, something that we could look back on when he is older and perhaps a place where his future best man could get embarrassing images from for his wedding day speech!
But our world was put into a spin just after Ethan’s two-year check up when the penny finally dropped that Ethan is possibly showing signs of autism.
I say possibly because he is yet to be diagnosed and our life has turned into one hospital appointment after another. Part of me is also wishing this is not to be the case and to say I am not out of the woods with my emotions would be the understatement of the year!
So I put off writing the blog whilst I searched the internet reading other people’s blogs and experiences. Then I thought why not share our story, it may help others, it may even help us, so here I am stating the blog!
In this first entry I want to share this letter that was given to me from a very special friend from across the pond. I’m going to get this letter printed out and framed so that I can look at it when I need strength and over the past few months it has lifted my spirits many times.
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 Rembrandt’s.
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.