Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

I ran across this poem again and I thought it was worth putting on my blog because it so beautifully describes how I feel. I find myself going between thankful I'm in "Holland" but wishing I had "Italy." I feel so guilty that I'm not more excited about God trusting me with these boys, but it would be so much easier if they were "normal" (as if there was such a thing!). But I'm reminded of several Biblical principles at the same time - God has a plan for them, God created them - in His image, and that He alone can give us the strength to carry on. So here is the poem:

Welcome To Holland byEmily 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. The Michelangelo 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! 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 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.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Little Victories

Zach is my seven year old (gulp!) and he has hit every milestone he was supposed to hit - but really, really, really late! The doctors say it's great because he isn't lagging and hits the milestones in his own time. So at this rate, he will be ready for college sometime around age 70. This lateness is one of the things that really bothers me because I am so competetive. Not a good thing in general, but especially not when you have kids like mine! The silver lining of these delays is that when he does something new - it's a HUGE cause for celebration!

On Saturday, our neighbor brought us a plate of cookies. They were awesomely yummy and Zach has finally decided that he likes cookies. So he had 2 or 3 and then I put them away so I wouldn't eat more than I should. The next morning, he was holding the empty plate and said, "Where are the cookies?" I was shocked! He put together a brand new sentence and he spoke so clearly. Both of these are things we have been working on for years!!! Usually, he would say, "I want cookies." But he asked! I was so excited and of course, gave him cookies. How could I not?

Zach has also taken a great interest in "writing". This is basically scribbling that a 2 year old would do, but he is actually interested in writing! I should be upset when I see writing all over every possible surface and book, but I know it's a stage he should be going through anyway!

I know this stuff doesn't seem like a big deal, but if you had kids like I do - it is! Now if we can just get the potty mastered!


I don't know if you can see all the marker they are wearing, but this is further evidence that Zach is enjoying his love of writing and is spreading the joy to Ryan.
Ryan is much more interested in eating the markers than drawing with them. You can also see his "horn" trying to pop out of the left side of his head. He's three, and don't all three year olds have horns??

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yee-Haw! We survived and had fun...

When I first posted on Monday, I didn't know that Mark was going to be gone for a better part of the week! He flew the weekly run to Haiti and the DR and came back from that Thursday evening. He rushed home for dinner and then had to turn around and go to Atlanta for training. Needless to say, I wasn't too excited about being the only one in charge for 4 days.

I also knew that I wasn't going to have fun and who cares if the floors are a mess or if there is sand in the pool. We were going to have a blast - no matter the cost. I planned all sorts of outings and we had a good time at the beach and the interactive fountain. We even made it to a freemovie, but left after Dorothy was greeted by the munchkins (it was the Wizzard of Oz). While I am not fond of the Wizard of Oz, we left because the boys started wrestling over the popcorn!

But the most fun we had was when the boys were tossing socks into a box like a carnival game. Then we went out on the lanai and colored all over this huge piece of paper that was stuffing for a box that arrived. I had such a great time listening to the boys hoot and holler. I was reminded of the simple truth that most parents know - it's the spontaneous, out-of-the-ordinary things that are the best.

I'm anxious to see what fun we come up with for summer vacation week 2! Am I brave enough to go to Sponge Bob Square Pants playing for free this week? If we go - I'll take two bags of popcorn! This week, though we do have a dentist appointment for Zach and pray for the dentist! I can't imagine Zach will be a willing patient...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day one of summer vacation

This is the ceremonial throwing away of the backpacks. For Zach, it marks the end of 1st grade. For Ryan, it means just the end of another pre-k year. He has two more years until kindergarten. Their backpacks were pretty tattered and Ryan's straps were just about to detach from his backpack.

Due to the boys going to summer school for five weeks, I consider today to be our first day of summer vacation. I was dreading these 3 weeks before school started, but I realize that we live in a fun area. We can go to the beach, the interactive fountain, parks, and so many other free adventures. I think we are going to have a blast!

Today is errands day though, so we are going to go on several "treasure hunts" around town. I also need to get in some exercise at the Y. I plan on going to the fountain in downtown Venice for a little splashing and laughing. I think the key is to keep the boys out of trouble. I hate all the wrestling these boys do, but a friend of mine told me that it is in the DNA of boys. She has four boys, so I trust her on all things related to bringing up boys! So the point is - keep them busy!

I'll let you know how the day goes!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Itching for more?

Do you ever have that feeling that there is more out there? I have that feeling right now, I know that God has a perfect plan for my family and I. I know He has tons of blessings He is waiting to shower on us - all we have to do is ask. But right now, I have this "itchiness" that there is something more for me to do. Like I was created for more than this. I don't think God has some huge project for me right now, but I think he wants me to LIVE.

The boys have one more day of summer school and then we have three weeks together before school starts. I almost live in fear of those days, because to be honest, the boys are a handful! It doesn't take much before they start wrestling, whining, or getting into everything. And then I get grumpy, and it's all downhill from there. Also, gone will be my "me time" and I really crave me time. Perhaps this restlessness I'm feeling is God trying to tell me to LIVE - to embrace the time with the boys and that it will be fun!

I'm also wondering if perhaps God is giving me this restlessness to help me work with Zach on his ABC's and counting. And to start potty training Ryan (a whole other topic!!). I guess my job is to faithfully follow the Lord's calling and see what He is preparing me for!

Or am I getting restless because He has an even bigger plan for me? I would love to move to the Dominican Republic, as part of Mark's job and mission. But is this what God has in store?

I guess all I can do right now is learn from Him and wait!


Friday, July 11, 2008

My life in a few paragraphs

I figured if this blog is about my family, I should provide a little background. Mark and I have two beautiful boys ages 7 and 3. They both have some unknown developmental delay and we have run a million tests and everything comes back "normal". So we know what they don't have...

Through the journey of raising 2 special needs children, I've gone through a lot of emotions, reactions, pain, laughter, struggles, joys, and every other emotion a parent feels. I have learned some things that I want to share and I have been able to see the humor in our situation. I'm a big believer in either laugh or cry. We have had moments of both, and will continue to, but I think as parents of special needs kids, we are so intense that if we don't stop and share the joy, we do ourselves and everyone else a disservice.

As I continue to blog, I will share past and present stories about my boys and our journey. I find it kind of weird to start a blog in the "middle". You won't know all of our past, but hopefully that won't matter. My goal is to be open about my pain and hopefully that will somehow, someway help another parent in my situation. I truly believe God has a plan for my boys. I believe He is going to grow them into men of God and there is a purpose for their "handicap". I also believe God has put a burden on my heart for other parents of special needs kids. So we shall see what the Lord does with this!