Friday, August 29, 2008

Our trip to "Holland"

It was 6 years ago today that we found out Caleb had Down syndrome. When he was born we had no idea, it even surprised the doctors who in the first day didn’t notice any signs. I remember one of our nurses handed me a pamphlet with a short story about a trip to Holland. Every year Justin and I remember this special day when we really discovered how special our Caleb is to Heavenly Father. Not that all children aren't special, but some have more challenges than others in this life and I believe it's because they were exceptional spirits in the premotal life. This story gives me strength during those hard times but also gives me hope to know that Justin and I have one of Heavenly Father's choice spirits. Enjoy the story!


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.



14 comments:

the bates motel said...

kari that is a great story! it brought tears to my eyes. you truly are such an amazing woman, mom, friend! i'm so glad to know and be your friend :)!

Anna said...

I've heard that story before and I LOVE it. I've given it to many friends before along with a packet of tulip bulbs to plant.

Mia said...

That story was really touching! It made me cry!!!! Thanks for posting that!

The Driggs said...

Kari, what a wonderful story and such a great comparison. You truly are blessed to have one of the most valiant of spirits, and Caleb is so lucky to have you and Justin for his parents. I'm sorry I haven't posted on your blog for awhile...I've taken the time to read, but not to post. Thank you for offering to come see us in the hospital. We went home that day and I never had called you yet. You're awesome!

JakenDebbie said...

Thank you for sharing that, Kari. You guys are awesome. Love you!

Melody B. said...

What a cool story Kari...thank you so much for sharing that. My friend just had a little boy with Downs (they never knew either before he came), I think she would like this. I also believe that Caleb is a special son of our Heavenly Father and you guys are pretty special too for being asked to take care of him while here. You rock sista!

brownymama said...

Love you and love Caleb! You guys are really the greatest parents. And he really is an amazing little guy! (:

Nuestra Familia said...

Thanks for that great story, it's been awhile since I have read it. You are the best momma. Love your family!

Sommer said...

LOVE all your recent posts... the story, the pictures and all the fun stuff your kids are doing.
Caleb's hair looks super cool on him, little Gunner cracks me up and cutie pa-tootie Bree is all girl! What a great family of five.

Aimee's Family Journal said...

Sheesh! Thanks for that beautiful story. I think that analogy can be made about a lot of things in life. I think each of us struggle with our anticipation of something vs. the actual reality of it. Oooo, I'm going ot use that in my next RS lesson. You are such a great example to all of us. I am so emotional of late, I don't know how I am not going to tear up everytime I think of that.

Steph said...

I love that story. Most of us aren't lucky enough to get to "visit Holland." It's good to remember that life is a blessing even when it doesn't turn out the way you planned. Love you guys! It was so fun to watch Bree!

Alisa Larson said...

I love that story and I love that you share it with all of us on his birthday. He's growing up so fast. I still can picture him as a one week old baby at your old house in Mesa. He was the cutest little boy and such a perfect baby! We love you Caleb!

LanaBanana said...

You guys are such a great example to the rest of us. It's a great attitude to adopt, and you've had it from the start. Caleb is so blessed to be with you!! Happy Birthday to Caleb!!

Holly Schwendiman said...

I always love coming to see your updates...these unexpected trips of parenting are amazing aren't they?

Hugs,
Holly