I have been thinking about the poem 'Welcome to Holland' quite a bit here lately. I have been recalling my feelings of bewilderment, fear, and pain when we landed in Holland the first time around. Today, we were given our packet from the hospital on having a child who has Down syndrome, and is a heart patient. The poem was in the packet of stuff for new parents. It made me smile this time.
You see Holland was super scary when we landed there unexpectedly. You spend time screaming at God and letting Him know that your ticket was not for this place. Eventually you start to settle in. You may not always be excited you are in Holland, but you start to meet other parents, other children, and you begin to enjoy this close knit family you make in Holland. You start to recognize milestones not as one less thing you have to do, but the biggest accomplishment of your child's life, up until that point.
But this time we chose Holland. We bought our boarding pass and happily flew in that direction. We knew where we would be landing, and we couldn't be happier to be here. We have made a whole new set of friends here this time around. And it feels different. Less scary. More pleasant.
People wonder why we chose here this time. They think we might be a few french fries short in our Happy Meal. Honestly, our first trip to Holland taught us to love deep and passionately because tomorrow is not guaranteed. It taught us that children singing loudly in the store, not matching, and jumping on the bed are not grounds for discipline. But, more than anything, it has taught us to laugh. Turn on the music, turn it up, and dance. Sit for thirty minutes, and just watch your child pretending. Make cupcakes together, and get flour everywhere. Just do things that you enjoy.
"I don't think the worst thing that could happen to me is having a child with special needs. I think the worst thing would be to raise a child who is cruel to people with special needs."
~ Matthew Mickelson Butman