26 Feb Tell It All Tuesday – Becoming the Crafty Wildflower – Part 1
I come from a family of 10 kids.
I have 5 sisters and 4 brothers. My parents started out with an incredible vision of the way they wanted their family to be run. They were both well educated; my father had his PHD in Agronomy and served as the National Agronomer for the US Department of Agriculture in Washington DC. My mom has her Masters in Home Economics.
We would often accompany my dad on his business trips.
He would take his stipend allowed for the trip and instead of flying to his different conferences by himself, he would load up our passenger van and we would drive to his conferences with him. While he was at his meetings my mom would take us on adventures in the different cities that we were visiting. My parents truly had a focus on the family.
My dad could have had a much easier time going on his business trips by himself and it certainly would have been easier for my mom to stay home than to traipse with her 10 kids across the country. The wonderful things that we were able to experience on these trips were priceless. The Lord was allowing us to have this blessing of spending so much time with our family together in the car and on the road. It truly was a blessing.
When my dad was 47 when he suddenly passed away from a heart attack.
He left behind my mom with 8 children at home to care for. Life changed in an instant…more details on this part of my life next week but for now I want to share an article I came across sometime in the last 20 years and have referred to it many times when things have been difficult.
Welcome to Holland
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 are going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks 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 flight attendant 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 guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never 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 catch your breath, you look around and notice that Holland has windmills, 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.”
The pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a 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.
I think this article applies to so much more than a child with disabilities. Life, family and marriage are what we make of it. Whether we end up in Italy or Holland our happiness depends on us. Focus on the good. Even though your family may not be typical or picturesque or even what you had imagined it is still a great blessing from the Lord.
Heavenly Father has never left me alone. He has always blessed me with amazing people in my life. He has answered my prayers and allowed me to find happiness.
To all those who have been sown among the rocks and are striving to becoming a wildflower…
To be continued