Four Weeks To Go!

It is really hard to believe that in just four weeks Parker will be in Cincinnati in the OR. People always ask how we are doing. Well, to be honest we are: excited, but not too excited, just in case . . . We are worried that Parker will get sick and the surgery will be postponed. We are confident in our choice of surgeon and hospital. We are sad that our baby has to have this surgery and we wish that we could take his place. Yet, we are thankful that this surgery is an option that is available to him. We are looking forward to hearing Parker’s voice. We are nervous about leaving the big boys for such a long time. But, we are blessed to have two grandmothers who will take wonderful care of them.

I’m pleased to say that our friend Tommy is doing well. He’s had bumps in the road over the last week but he is recovering nicely. I’m even betting that he will be long gone before we get there! Of course, we want to meet him but we want him home and healthy with his family even more!

 Another question we get asked a lot is “How do you do it?” That’s hard to answer. We do it because we have to do it. There isn’t any option. Is this what we planned? Is this what we expected? No. Not at all. Would we have it any other way? No. Not really. Sure, we’d love it if our baby didn’t have to struggle so much in his first days. We’d love it if we didn’t have a makeshift hospital set up in our family room. We’d love it if we didn’t have to carry a big suction machine with us everywhere we go. But, in the end I don’t think we’d change it. Why? Because without all of that we wouldn’t have Parker.

 Emily Perl Kingsley sums it up perfectly in her essay, 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’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning 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 out 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….and 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 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.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

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