Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thanks Aimee

Thank you all for sending us your letters and we promise that we'll post them all but I tend to procrastinate more than most. I'm putting them up in the order we received them and this next one has a great story. Even if you've read it before read it again. We're loving our trip to Holland!

Dear Rob and Angel,

You invited people who care about Charlie to email their thoughts. I had been bouncing back and forth for a long time to send you this or not. But since you have invited, here it goes. The reason why I was so hesitant is simply you don't know me. I didn't want to seem intrusive on your family's life. So you have some connection to who I am, I am Doug Benson's cousin. I have a daughter just about Charlie's age.

Charlie's story has had a great impact on me. I've spent nights bawling at the computer screen, my heart going out to you. I don't check the blog near as often now, only every 6 weeks or so. Once I showed my mom your blog and she started crying too. See, it hits so close to home. My sister was born with mental/physical disabilities associated with microcephaly. And your story brought back so many memories, the J-Peg, the not knowing how much of her surroundings she could take in, the tumbleform chair, the wheelchairs, the times when you know she recognized you somewhere deep in her.

You may have already received this story from someone else, but if not, enjoy! I think of this poem every time I read your blog. My mom received it sometime after my sister was born, and I remember her passing it along to others in similar situations.

Welcome To Holland
Emily Perl Kingsley
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

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.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Through time, the blessings out way the strife. I feel I am really inadequate to speak about this since I was never the parent, only the sibling. I probably don't know a quarter of what this really entails, but I do recognize the affect it has on you, your family, and all those around you. My prayers are always with you. (Attached is a picture of my sister and I. I tried to find one with our brother too, but simply couldn't find the one I was looking for).

~Aimee Marble


Suz said...

It never ceases to amaze me the impact one little man can have on so many! I can sure relate with crying at the computer....and I don't cry! Thanks Aimee for sharing your experiences and the Holland story. What a great message!

Marilee said...

Beautiful--just beautiful. ( I personally was looking forward to an island in the Caribbean and ended up on an island on the Mississippi.)
Thank you for presenting a forward looking perspective. Don'tcha just love the people to whom this blog introduces us.

whitney said...

Tears in my eyes. What a nice letter and the poem helps some of us maybe understand it a little better,but of course, not exactly.

Anonymous said...

That was such a touching story and love the poem!

BTW, I meant to send this earlier but I bet your readers would be interested in Bloglines. It is a blog watcher - you just subscribe and then it lets you know when blogs are updated. Saves you from refreshing all the time!

Jen said...

I found your blog from a friend. My family is about to end up in Holland instead of Italy as well. Thank you for the great insight. I look forward to reading your blog as we plan for an unexpected trip of our own. I hope we handle it as well as your family.