25 April 2011

The Trip to Holland.

I know you've heard the story.

You get ready for a trip to Italy, and you learn Italian, and you're all ready to eat the native foods and go to the native places and see the sights, but you get dumped off in Holland. Then somehow you're la-la-la-ing your way through Holland, clicking your wooden clogs happily and revelling in the blessings of tulips and windmills. This, or so the analogy goes, is just how it feels to have a "special" child, and aren't we all glad we're in Holland together?

Dang straight, I'm not. Twerp alert: I paid for Italy. I'm feeling gypped.

And gimme a break. Don't even tell me that the second you got off that plane, that you wouldn't be yelling at every single ticket agent, the pilot, the stewardesses, the radar tower people, God and some random puppy that got in your way that day. (No, you'd kick the puppy. You're just that mad.) I'm telling you, I'd have the most colossal temper fit you'd ever seen, right in the airport. It would look something like this, but you have to picture this scene with a middle-aged fat white woman roly-polying all over the ground and snotting everywhere.

But the analogy isn't really a fair one. Because really, you're IN ITALY but no longer able to speak Italian with the people who surround you. You can no longer eat the foods you wanted to eat or go to the places you wanted to see as a parent. Sure, you can love your little Dutchman and pinch his little Campbell's soup kid cheeks, and you can rejoice in the fact that your child is a gift from God. And you can yodel with him or whatever it is that those Dutch people do. (I know they don't yodel... that was just me trolling for comments by being provocative.)

That doesn't mean that when your child doesn't speak and the other kids the same age in the church nursery are using the potty and giving an entire monologue, that you don't feel jealous. And angry. Why are we all working so hard, and things are still difficult?

It doesn't mean you don't want to smack some people upside the head, either. Do you know how aggravating it is to deal with stares and comments, knowing this is some horrible joke God is playing on your poor child? Here, you can be reasonably assured the know-it-all who advises you on child rearing in the local Wal-Mart hasn't had to deal with one stinkin' tenth of the problems you've been handling. And her kids don't have one stinkin' tenth of the obstacles to overcome your child does.

You feel jealous of the easy life those people have. You wish *you* had the easy life with *your* children and that you could be the one giving the stupid advice to Ms. Stupid and the Stupid Twins on checkout aisle 15. But nooooo. God puts all this on your family, and then you're supposed to suck it up and be gracious.

It isn't fair. Not that I'm doing so hot on the being gracious thing, and not that I'm doing so hot on even caring about not doing so hot on the being gracious thing. I just don't have any energy left to do that, you know?


  1. Mrs. C, I wish I lived nearby you so whenever one of us needed a good break, we could get one! Every mom, no matter what, just needs a break every now and then. I don't have that either. Not anyone. But I understand, with raising Chaz, how difficult these kids can be. It was my first time as a parent and I couldn't figure out what the heck was wrong with my kids. Or me. I just knew parenting was super hard and wondered why it seemed so much easier for most other parents. I didn't figure out the Aspergers until Chaz was 5 years old. It's still hard with him and I'm having to pull him out of a really good school because they won't work with him. ((Hugs)) You deserve a break. Even if it's just a nice bubble bath, chocolate, and a good book at least twice a week.

  2. Oh MrsC! Some people are just plain ignorant & there's no teaching them any different. I'm too far away to be of any earthly use to you so I'll try & be of some heavenly use instead. I'm sorry it's been so rough lately.

  3. I wrote about the Holland thing recently and then invited people to Siberia. As I had some say in who was placed in my home as an adoptive child, I kind of prepared for Holland. I didn't prepare for what I ended up with. I have been through mad, blame, despondency and I am currently in a rather uneasy acceptance that Marissa's life and lifestyle will probably not reflect any of mine.

    I am so glad you found a wonderful school for Woodjie -- a place he can be just like everyone else.

    I wish I could give you a day of respite!

  4. Mrs C--all I could think when I was reading this post was how blessed your children are to have you for a mother. I know it may not seem that way all the time (or vice versa) especially when you encounter stupid people, but it is true. Like Jenny and the others--I wish I could be there to help, but I will lift you all up in prayer. I also agree with Jenny that a bubble bath and chocolate are in order for today! With love...

  5. Oh, Mrs C., I read this some time ago, but couldn't comment right away. You are so honest about those feelings all of us with special needs kids have from time to time (and sometimes those times are longer than others!). I am continuing to ponder your words, and sort through my own feelings, but I just wanted to say that you are such a great mom, and your kids are so blessed to have you. I am so glad to hear that Woodjie will be in a wonderful pre-school, and I have to admit that I am a little jealous (OK, a lot)! I am praying for you.

  6. Reminds me of my early years. I arrived in America when I was about five and didn't know any English. So the powers to be bussed me off to a school with a special needs program. But the special needs instructor only spoke English. I had no idea what was going on for the entire year.

  7. "I know they don't yodel... that was just me trolling for comments by being provocative."

    Well, we do like our oliebollen, rusks with butter and hagel--which I always heard pronounced "ha-hole"--and pretty much any tasty bread with butter and Gouda.

    I'm so sorry that you ended up in Italy with a German/Dutch boy--wow, a very similar heritage to my own--and I wish I had words of wisdom. But I don't. I just wanted to let you know that I'm here, cheering you on.


  8. Well written.

    I was sent the Holland story, but I had come to a place where I had accepted things more. Had someone sent it to me earlier, I think I would have vomited.

    I love the God only sends these things to strong people, or he never sends you more than you can handle. I don't find it comforting at all.

    I remember saying once, I would rather be weak and shallow and have my son alive than strong and carry this grief.

    Hugs. Hope things for Woodjie work out at the preschool.

  9. Wow I just came across your blog today and I'm feeling a bit sideswiped by your honesty. Not in any negative way. I really appreciate it, but it's not something you hear every day in blogland.
    You are an awesome woman of God, brave and courageous.
    Many Blessings,

  10. Very well said..I can only say that I do indeed know how you feel. I was on my way to Holland and wound up in Paramus N.J...:)

  11. Coming to you from Sue's blog...first time here. I really appreciate this post! We have a parent group at my daughter's special ed preschool, and a number of us have "gone off" on the Trip to Holland story! Your taxing treadmill spoke to me. I also have a 19 y/o son with Aspergers, not diagnosed until he was in HS. "He'll grow out of it" was what I heard, year after year. I hope you can make connections with some other parents near you - it has been a wonderful thing for me.

  12. Update: shortened the post and changed publish date. So, comments about Woodjie's preschool are based on old post. It's ok. He's still doing *great* in that preschool. I was hoping to be featured in KWombles' blog so I wanted the whole post to be shorter/more "timeless." Ok, back to your regularly scheduled program...

  13. Okay, so I sent you this book on laid-back homeschooling to check out before I publish and as I drifted off to sleep I was like, "HUH? I didn't put one dang thing in there about special needs." So help me out, would ya? We'll talk more about what you think I need in there.


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)

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