Monday, March 7, 2011

A Year In Holland

I first want to start this post by adding a poem that was given to me after Lennon was born.
It kind of sets the tone of this post. Bare with me.

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.

(Did I mention my favorite flower is tulips? Always has been.)

How do you measure a year in the life... ??

One year ago, I was pregnant. One year ago, I was having a baby girl. One year ago, my world was shaken to the core. One year ago, my heart was broken. One year ago, I felt alone. One year ago, I was devastated. One year ago, I was certain I had done something wrong. One year ago, I thought things no mother should. One year ago, I was wrong.

One year later, she is turning one. One year later, she is my heart. One year later, my world is a better place. One year later, my heart is on the mend. One year later, I am anything but alone. One year later, I am overwhelmed... with love. One year later, I am a better person. One year later, I am living my dream... a stay at home mother. One year later, I am in love.

She's turning one in 9 days.
And some days, I still feel like a foreign exchange student.

Mixed Emotions
It saddens me to see how fast she is growing, but I'm excited for her to gain some independence. Independence is code for "momma gets a break". Her therapist, among others, have noticed how tall she is getting. I hope she is tall like her daddy and not so short and dumpy like her momma. Her ENT commented on how big she has gotten since the last time she saw her. I assume she means chunky! I notice how beautiful she is getting - every day - more and more.

Baby bug will not be a baby bug forever... booooo... and yaaaay! She is cruising on the couch now. She laughs at herself, and ends up stumbling because she is so excited to be moving with such freedom. It's absolutely hysterical! She has started balancing unassisted! (insert happy dance here) It's just amazing what early intervention can do!

My little Dutch Dreamboat
She is becoming a little lady. She loves her dolls and stuffed animals. She loves her maracas... Ole! She loves her momma. My heart is so full. Sometimes, still, I just look at her and I cry. I am in total awe of her, and her joy. She lights up every room. She is where it's at. Lennon Vale Davidson changed me. God knew I needed her more than she needed me. How do you repay someone for such a grand gift?

The Trip
Going to Holland was rough... Entering Holland was the equivelant to landing a plane without landing gear. I have said it before and I will say it again, I know things happen for a reason. I know the big picture is bigger than I can imagine. I wouldn't wish this upon anyone. But for those who do share this journey... it's good to know we have each other. Because no one else will ever understand. The good days do outweigh the bad by far. Everyone else.... grab your backpacks and let's trudge across Europe together.... Holland awaits and it's beautiful.

Our first year in Holland.


Living in Holland?
What can I say?
Except that, "We've Come A Long Way, Baby!"
And what have I learned?
Holland is where it's at.

Who knew?! He knew.... He always knows.

Come What May

Come what may, my love will never change.
It is all up from here... right?!
I am choosing to be in a better mood today.
I have that power.
Seriously... it's much needed, considering the past week or so.

Attacking the camera... LOVE HER!
She cannot stand me to have the camera blocking my face.
I guess my phone was a little more inconspicuous.
She climbs all up in the lens trying to get to me ... makes it very hard to take pictures.
But it is fun wrestling with her... she giggles the whole time!
She looks just like Lake here ;)
Doing her model pose... she is totally rocking this dress, bow and boots.

Rain or Shine - so glad she is mine... and she suits me just fine.
In This Wonderful Life is doing a giveaway...check out her blog!

Lennon bug is walking with her walker more and more every day!
Words cannot express how proud I am of my determined little toot toot!
I CANNOT believe she is about to be a year... it seems like yesterday we were having heart surgery and now just look at her - so big!


I wish so badly I could get on video two things... 1) her expression when we start the "Signing Time" vidoes... She goes nuts! Laughing and flailing her arms! Hysterical! 2) her watching the SPROUT morning show. When Chica comes on she talks to it... and giggles. It is the cutest EVER!

Happy thoughts, people... keep 'em going.
Life is too short to walk around pissy.

Toodles!