Sunday, November 21, 2010

Benvenuto in Italia

The poem Welcome to Holland is a pretty way to describe what caring for a child with special needs is like. As pretty goes, it leaves out the ugly side. The surgery, the near death experiences, the medical issues. It leaves out the hard stuff like communication issues, therapy, and doctor visits.

I have always appreciated the Welcome to Holland story, but to be honest, I haven't ever really liked it. At first it was because I didn't want to be in Holland. It came as a shock to hear that my third born had Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome. I didn't want this for him, and lets face it, I didn't want it for me either. So I wrote "crash landed "and in that moment I was satisfied to tread the ocean waters, and never make it to shore, cause I was not going to Holland. The pretty little way it was trying to describe my life was a lie.

Time passed, and I thought that I had grown to love Holland, things were good, I had confidence that I could do this, and there wasn't a thing I didn't love about my Alex. I thought I had taken my place and settled into the roll as a special needs mom.

Time passed some more, and I now realize that the reason I still don't quite feel like I can relate to the Holland story is because I'm not there. I made it to Italy, that is if Italy means having a child, loving that child with every part of my being, advocating for him, teaching him, caring for him, just being mom to him, like I do for all my children.

Alex is no different than my other children. Or he is just as different as Noah is to Joel, as Max is to Noah. All my kids are different because everyone is an individual. Everyone learns different, every one has their medical story, everyone sees the world a little differently than the next.

So, I appreciate the Holland story. I understand that it was written to express the beautiful side of parenting a child who is intellectually different. I cant settle for that though, and I want everyone else to know that when I really look around at the scenery here in my home, I'm in Italy, just like you. We all made it there. We all have the momma bear, the warrior mom fight in us. If you love your kids, you made it to Italy.

I am a better mom, a better person because of Alex. He has taught me things I could have never known without him showing me, however, our plane didn't land in a place reserved for the untypical. We are very much a part of the world. I will do all I can to make sure Alex is seen as a person who contributes. Who loves, and who very much lives in Italy with his family, and the rest of you.


-Jessica Pruitt


Jessica said...

You made me cry, I so feel the same way, I'm not good at putting it into words. Thank you Jess!!!!

TherExtras said...

More and more I think other parents will come to your vision of Holland and Italy. Barbara

Anonymous said...

You are so good at putting such beautiful thoughts down in writing! I love you and I don't even know you...I wish we lived close and could be friends...we would be the best of friends and I could be there to help you!
From Wisconsin

Kelly said...

Just perfect my friend...just like you and Alex! Perfect!


Kristi said...

I'm with you. And sipping vino on the sidewalks of Venice.. Beautiful Jessica..

Kelly said...

LOVE this! I am multicultural. I feel like I am in Italy most of the time. But there are times I am not understood in Italy. I need that whole new group of people (a.k.a. YOU) I never would have met without visiting Holland. I love your blog posts! Kelly F