I have to say, 4 years into this special needs parenting thing, that I'm still surprised by how many people like that "Trip to Holland" piece. If you're not familiar with it, go read it now and come back, because the rest of what I'm about to say will make far more sense. I'll wait.
Got it? Good. Now then....back to Holland
This piece comes up every few months on some special needs board or another, usually posted with a comment along the lines of "Have you read this? It's great!"
First, I don't think it's all that well written. It's smarmy and sentimental.
Secondly, I think it's a terrible metaphor. Some people might want to go to Holland, and if you ended up
there and hated it, you could just hop the train and go to Italy
anyway - it's only about 1000 miles from Amsterdam to Rome. It's not like this is a case where you look around and think:
Finally, she mentions that it's not some horrible disgusting place with famine and disease. Maybe for her it wasn't...but that's not true for all of us.
We've spent more than 1/3 of our days as parents with one or more children in the hospital. Have you looked around a hospital lately? There's a reason we don't let our kids play on the floors. There's a reason you're more likely to get life threatening illnesses in hospitals than at home (in 90 days in the PICU, on contact precautions, Leaf had a infection in her blood, 3 rounds of bacterial airway infections, and C.Diff...thus far, she's had *ZERO* infections in almost 5 months at home).
And don't get me started on how to feed a child who won't eat. Feast or famine, doesn't matter if your kid has oral aversions.
What would be a more apt metaphor?
I'm thinking it's more like carrying a heavy backpack all the time (around here, with ventilators and oxygen, that's sometimes more truth than metaphor). In a lot of ways, it's like everyone else's life, except when you realize you don't fit at a booth in most restaurants, and it's a lot more work, and everything is complicated by having to figure out what you're going to do with this backpack while you're living your life.
But sooner or later...you kind of get used to the backpack and the challenges that go with it.