Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Welcome to Holland

As most of you know, my son Bryson was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes 3 years ago. It was a devastating day that changed our lives forever. Ever since, I have become an advocate in the fight for a cure and have used my business (Crimson Clover) to bring awareness to this horrible disease that affects millions of children and adults in our country every hour of every day. Those with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes will be dependent on insulin for the rest of their lives. Insulin is not a cure for the disease - it is merely life support.
My dear friend, Laurie back in Ohio who has an amazing daughter, Leah with spina bifida goes through more challenges than I can even imagine. They are the strongest people I have ever been blessed to meet. I didn't know that spina bifida is the most common birth defect and effects 1 in 1000 births! You can lower your risk by taking folic acid during pregnancy, however, it does not prevent all cases. Those who suffer from spina bifida deal with many neurologic and orthopedic problems. Laurie is such a wonderful mom and Leah does not let anything slow her down.
When I was at my lowest point, Laurie sent me this poem and I wanted to take the opportunity to share it with all of our readers. It truly put things into perspective for me and I hope it will help others, as well.
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 for 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 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....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 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.
tia & andrea

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