It was a matter of days, after my oldest son’s first diagnosis, that the emails and Facebook links began pouring in.
Welcome to Holland, by Emily Pearl Kingsley, is like required reading for a mom with a newly diagnosed child.
I read it. I liked it. I identified with it.
I nodded my head a few times.
Then I moved on.
A few years later, I stumbled across a few blog posts that did not appreciate the sentiment. Some disagreed. One was even entitled, Why I Hate Welcome To Holland.
I thought it was a little unnecessary to be so aggressive towards another mom, just trying to express her heart (I mean hate is a really strong word).
But I also nodded my head in agreement at some points.
Then I moved on.
Special Needs Motherhood: When You Have No Idea What To Do
Dealing with the complications of a new diagnosis for my youngest son has not been easy.
The past few weeks have been a haze of unfamiliar needs, scary prospects for the future, medications, and doctor visits. I cry all the time, not because I am ashamed of my sweet boy or his needs. I don’t cry because of the diagnosis itself, or even what it means long-term.
No, I cry all the time because in this season, I have no idea how to help him.
Watching my child suffer, and being helpless to relieve it is the worst thing I know as a mom.
My sweet friend Cindy knows from experience how difficult these first few months, post diagnosis, can be. Our kids are the same ages and stages. They have similar needs and even share a few diagnoses. They get along really well.
She was friends with my husband long before we met. Let me be clear however – I have completely claimed her as my own.
Cindy lives four hours away, but her words make it seem like she is in the room with me, seeing what is going on, and able to offer perspective.
Yesterday she wrote this, in response to Welcome to Holland. I was so encouraged, I asked her if I could publish it here for you to read too.
“I have shared this Holland essay before. I am sharing again because I feel like, while this is wonderful, we went to Holland with our first child, Italy with our next and the third one took us to even more foreign Uzbekistan. It’s not better or worse than Holland or Italy just different. I just read an article from someone who hates this sweet essay… We all just go to Italy, but we have different experiences. (She has a very good point).
Either way, whatever country your children take you to…live well there, learn the language, join in the culture. You will find beauty in unexpected places if your heart is open to it. It’s difficult at times, but oh so worth it.”
She is 100% right.
And so today, I will go about the work of living in this alien land. I will seek to learn the language, experience the culture, and find the unexpected beauty.
Because this is the life I have been given.
Because this is my son, my heart.
Because no matter how difficult it is at times,
this little boy,
is oh so worth it.
This post originally appeared here on Not The Former Things in 2016.