Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thoughts on Welcome to Holland


When we were going through the very difficult child-raising years, I came across something that forced me to view life in a new way. It was called Welcome to Holland.

http://www.creativeparents.com/Holland.html

The gist of this wonderfully simple piece is that we don't plan to have a child with disabilities, but when it happens, we need to look at that child in a new way. Some of the words have resonated with me for 10+ years:

... 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....

I did learn a new language. Most of my free time was spent reading books and getting information online. I met wonderful, kind, giving people who I would not have met were it not for these circumstances. I learned what is important and what is not.

Our son, at age 20, is doing much better than we ever hoped or expected.

And those words continue to stick with me. And I realized they apply to much more than a child with issues. They apply to any major difficulties anyone experiences. To me, those words are a key to survival when life gets really tough.

And so when my best friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer asked me to go with her to a class teaching how to apply make-up for cancer patients, I thought this will be fun. As I tend to do, I connected what she is going through with the Welcome to Holland piece. As a healthy middle-aged woman, she didn't expect to be going for days of testing, chemotherapy, or spending a few days in a hospital with a low blood count.

But she will learn the language, and she will meet special people.

And I will be there too.

And we will have fun, like we always have.

23 comments:

anno said...

A wonderful post, with a remarkable amount of substance in a remarkably tiny package. Shifting your perspective when things don't work out as expected is often difficult for me; from now on, I'm going to try thinking about these occasions as "arriving in Holland." Thanks so much!

Viki said...

You are a good friend. Your friend will meet many people (angels I called them) who will help her get through this in many unexpected ways. But she will definitely always need you to lean on when she's happy or sad or just to vent. My thoughts are with her.

Jeanie said...

Wow. I echo Anno's thoughts about substance, eloquent and contained. I know there are lots of things going on in Sharon's life that probably don't seem to fortunate right now. But in one respect she is one of the luckiest people in the world -- she has you as her friend, to be with her, to support her. To make her laugh when she is down and to listen when being down is where she must be at that moment. I think I need to "go to Holland" a little more than I do.

WhiteSockGirl aka The Fabulous Bitch said...

What an amazing beautiful post. And so true.

I guess when something challenging and traumatic comes over my path, it provides us with opportunities to bring new wonderful people in our lives.

I do hope that your friend is doing well.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Shoot girl, I came to visit your blog because you left some nice comments on mine and I wanted to see what you're about and what do I find? I am ALREADY following you! I was hooked when I read the post about the friend you made when you were learning about the needs of your son. I even commented. Now I read your tulip post and it also touched me because it seems, that in many areas I connect to you. Parenting, not liking to get to far from home, movies, books, music. Well, like it or not, I guess I'm here to stay, because you're gonna like me. I'm a loyal friend — just like you.
Blessings,
Tia

Sharon said...

Before I read this entry, I was feeling depressed and sorry for myself.

I have heard "Welcome to Holland" many times in the past and always thought it was very inspirational to those who had children with disabilities, but I never thought about applying the words to other "unexpected journeys" we face in life. I am so glad that you pointed this out to me!

I was only diagnosed around a month ago, and have already experienced so much. My family and my friends have come through for me with support that has really lifted me up and I have a new appreciation for how lucky I am to have them all around me!

I have met wonderful, caring health professionals and other patients who are going through the same things I am.

I have a new appreciation for the life I was living before and intend to get back to once this roadblock is over.

And we will have fun at that make-up seminar, because we always have fun when we go out, and what's the point of going through this all if not to get to enjoy more of life.

Thanks.

Traci said...

I recently read this poem (on a blog, of course!) for the first time and I was soooo moved. I do not have a child with special needs but the profundity of it spoke to me nonetheless. I agree that it is applicable to so many of life's whys. We so often want to look to God and say this isn't where I wanted to go but as the poem points out so beautifully, we can learn to enjoy the sites and lessons of the journey He sends us on. Thanks for the reminder.
:-)
Traci

fullsoulahead.com said...

I don't know if she's getting chemo or will have hair loss, but Passage to Peru on Coventry in Cleveland Heights has awesome head scarves if she wants to look funky.

I sent some to my friend who is also presently "experiencing Holland" and she loved them.

Glenda said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm so glad you did so that I'd find your remarkable site. Such food for thought here. I hope you'll visit me again, but I'll be sure to come back here.

Rachel Cotterill said...

This is such a great post, I can't believe I missed it. A lovely way of looking at the world.

croneandbearit said...

You are such an amazing woman and your friend is so blessed to have you in her life. Perhaps I need to go to Holland...

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