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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Month of Awareness

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I would like to pay tribute not only to my angel, but to those who live this life everyday. I truly admire these individuals. They laugh harder, smile more often, and love unconditionally. I never realized how much I was really missing in life until Gabi arrived. She gave me a new reason to live and most importantly more reason to love. The poem, Welcome to Holland was first given to me after we received Gabi's diagnosis. I will never forget the day I read it and how much it touched my heart. With that being said I leave it with you to read as today's Thought of the Day...

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. Michelangelo's 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! 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.

4 comments:

CrackerJacks said...

Lovely poem!

Gabi would be so proud of you and Jason for continuing to share your knowledge and experience.

Isabella said...

Welcome to Holland is my favorite. We love you guys and miss you constantly. Thinking of you always
Meg
p.s. the pics of Kinsley below are just way to cute. I can't wait to see her next weekend!! Oh, and I can't wait to see you guys too!!

Rachel said...

You are one AWESOME MOM!!!!! Gabi must be so proud of you and Jason!

Keep being the way you are.

Rachel

Anonymous said...

What an awesome way to see it through a new window. That makes you step back and look at all the beauty in what you have and not the wants you don't have. I truly needed that and thank you. The first thing I told my husband when Sarah Palin made her very first speech and they passed baby Trig around, I said, "Look at how much that little baby is So loved!" It was awesome. Thank you again and keep up the wonderful awareness work.
Monica