I have mentioned earlier that we have been blessed with such loving friends and family. Landon's diagnosis has really touched each and every one of us on many different levels. I know sometimes that people are at a loss for words. It really is OK. We are all OK.
For those of you wondering what it is must be like or how "I" must feel: here is a great summary of raising a child with special needs.........
Welcome to Holland
by Emily Pearl 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 guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michalangelo 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 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 go out and buy new guidebooks. 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, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're 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." The pain of that will never go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your time mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, very lovely things about Holland.
I have had the opportunity to travel to Italy twice now. And I have enjoyed it both times. It's just a really fast pace kind of place with lots of stuff going on. It's hard to catch everything. You just keep on moving and hope to see everything you possibly can. But somewhere along the way you realize that you did indeed miss things, things you really wish you did see, things you really wish you could remember. But you can't turn back because Italy is a big place and you have to keep on moving to keep up. But you'll always have the pictures and memories to remind you of certain stops along the way. Truly wonderful moments!
Holland is my third stop. And I must say it truly is a breath of fresh air. It's nice to sit back, put the car in cruise control and really enjoy the scenery. It is beautiful here. There is lots to see and the pace is a little slower. The cars aren't speeding by and people aren't waving hello/goodbye as they run right by you trying to get to the next stop quickly or rushing to the front of the line. In Holland, people enjoy a leisurley stroll and take time to stop and talk for a moment or two, sometimes to check out the windmills or see the delicate details of the tulips. Sure, we have places to go and things to do but we try not to let the clock dictate our day/time. We will get to those places and do the things we want to do........all at our own pace. Isn't that what a vacation is all about. Taking the time to really enjoy the beauty of the place you are visiting. I want to share my pictures of Holland with others who may never make it there. And I want them to see all the details and beauty that Holland holds.
I will admit that traveling back and forth between Italy and Holland can have me a bit jet lagged at times. In Holland you have more time to think and you pay more attention to the small details. I don't want to miss the small details in the beauty of Italy either. So through my travels, I am learning how to get the best experience out of the place I am visiting. I am learning that Italy isn't going anywhere anytime soon. It will always be there. So for now, I will just sit back and enjoy the ride!