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.
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.