Friendships · Grief · Survival Mode

When Life Feels Unfamiliar

It was a matter of days, after my oldest son’s first diagnosis, that the emails and Facebook links began pouring in.

Welcome to Holland, by Emily Pearl Kingsley, is like required reading for a mom with a newly diagnosed child.

I read it.

I liked it.

I identified with it.

I nodded my head a few times.

Then I moved on.

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A few years later, I stumbled across a few blog posts that did not appreciate the sentiment. Some disagreed. One was even entitled, Why I Hate Welcome To Holland.

I thought it was a little unnecessary to be so aggressive towards another mom, just trying to express her heart (I mean hate is a really strong word).

But I also nodded my head in agreement at some points.

Then I moved on.

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When Life Feels Unfamiliar

Dealing with the complications of a new diagnosis for my youngest son has not been easy.

The past few weeks have been a haze of unfamiliar needs, scary prospects for the future, medications, and doctor visits.

I cry all the time, not because I am ashamed of my sweet boy or his needs. I don’t cry because of the diagnosis itself, or even what it means long-term.

No, I cry all the time because in this season, I have no idea how to help him.

Watching my child suffer, and being helpless to relieve it is the worst thing I know as a mom.

My sweet friend Cindy knows from experience, how difficult these first few months, post diagnosis, can be.

Our kids are the same ages and stages.

They have similar needs and even share a few diagnoses. They get along really well.

She was friends with my husband long before we met. Let me be clear however – I have completely claimed her as my own.

Cindy lives four hours away, but her words make it seem like she is in the room with me, seeing what is going on, and able to offer perspective.

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Yesterday she wrote this, in response to Welcome to Holland. I was so encouraged, I asked her if I could publish it here for you to read too.

“I have shared this Holland essay before. I am sharing again because I feel like, while this is wonderful, we went to Holland with our first child, Italy with our next and the third one took us to even more foreign Uzbekistan. It’s not better or worse than Holland or Italy just different. I just read an article from someone who hates this sweet essay… We all just go to Italy, but we have different experiences. (She has a very good point).

Either way, whatever country your children take you to…live well there, learn the language, join in the culture. You will find beauty in unexpected places if your heart is open to it. It’s difficult at times, but oh so worth it.”

She is 100% right.

And so today, I will go about the work of living in this alien land. I will seek to learn the language, experience the culture, and find the unexpected beauty.

Because this is the life I have been given.

Because this is my son, my heart.

Because no matter how difficult it is at times,

this life,

this family,

this little boy,

is oh so worth it.

3 thoughts on “When Life Feels Unfamiliar

  1. I’m there. I haven’t posted on my blog about it, but one of my girls just got a diagnosis of anxiety and has started meds. She is reading things online about anxiety and wanting to share all about this thing that is consuming her. She’s going to counseling, which I am incredibly grateful for. But I’m definitely floundering. Autism? Blindness? Sure! They’ve been in our lives for over a decade now. I’m good. Anxiety? Lost. Completely. I know nothing about it, especially in regards to how to HELP without being too practical. I’m not the most empathetic of mothers/women and am trying to keep my mouth shut most of the time when “honey, it’s just rain and thunder. We are not going to drown. We live on a hill, for heaven’s sake!” wants to come out. Because I at least mostly know that’s not helpful.

    And, yeah, I kind of hated Holland, too. The one about the Beirut, though, resonated. http://www.bbbautism.com/beginners_beirut.htm

  2. Amen! They are ours, we are here, the end. I actually also loathed that poem. Mostly due to the obvious redirected flight path. Yet those of us who were led earlier to Biomedical intervention for our children got the facts and healing rather quickly. I can’t imagine what “country” my son would be in if my Mom wasn’t the prayer warrior she was. If we had excepted the lie that our kids are “stuck” in their sickness. If the phony Developmental Pediatrician we’d seen first had stumbled us with his, “My son climbed Everest for Autism..but NO that medical diet doesn’t work.” When I’d had video evidence that my kiddo did a 360 health wise with it. Nope. God led is quickly away from a non-verbal Holland. I feel like we’re more in Ireland some days. Not only due to the fact that more of the Irish receive the ASD Dx, as he is part, but with his recurring OCD and unwillingness to give a darn for the toilet. Makes me want to dance a crazy Mom Irish jig! Italy, however, happens with the help of family. When my faithful, single Mom treats him to time away. We get back to normal. We may not have long date nights, but it’s enough time to rekindle our hearts toward our big boy. 🙂 God is good.

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