Owning a cleaning business means that I get to know my clients fairly well through their possessions. As an avid book reader, I always take an interest in books people are reading for literary inspiration.
Recently, while cleaning a house for someone whose son attended the same Early Intervention Program as my daughter, I came across a book on the coffee table titled “Parenting a child with Sensory Processing Disorder”. Since this is a bit of an issue in my household, I had a quick flick through and enjoyed what I saw. One excerpt caught my attention as it was highly relatable and explained parenting special needs quite well.
In the book, it is titled “Holland Schmolland”…I am going to loosely quote it, but if you get your hands on the book, you can read the full story.
Imagine that you are planning a trip to Italy. You read all the latest travel books, you consult with friends about what to pack, and you develop an elaborate itinerary for your glorious trip. The day arrives.
You board the plane and settle in with your in-flight magazine, dreaming of trattorias, gondola rides, and gelato. However when the plane lands you discover, much to your surprise, you are not in Italy — you are in Holland. You are greatly dismayed at this abrupt and unexpected change in plans.
You rant and rave to the travel agency, but it does no good. You are stuck. After awhile, you tire of fighting and begin to look at what Holland has to offer. You notice the beautiful tulips, the kindly people in the wooden shoes, the french fries with mayonnaise, and you think, “This isn’t exactly what I had planned, but it’s not so bad. It’s just different.”
Reading this inspired a topic. The analogy is pretty much smack on perfect for parenting special needs.
While trying to conceive, and/or during pregnancy, you envision your child and how life is going to be. It is going to be textbook perfect, reaching milestones at the right ages, they are going to grow healthily and happily and life is going to be picturesque.
Then all of a sudden you get slammed with (in our case) milestones not being reached, resulting in hours of therapy, or serious health issues that require ongoing maintenance or care.
A personal example that echoes the analogy is my son’s cystic diagnosis. It was earth shattering when we got our diagnosis. I was in shock. I was upset. I was thinking “What on earth did I do to deserve this?” The night of his diagnosis is a bit hazy after the doctor said the words “Yes, he has tested positive for cystic fibrosis.” but I am pretty sure I said those exact words to my mum when she rocked up to the hospital that night.
Almost four years on, I am impressed at how well he has been! I was expecting to constantly be in and out of hospital with his CF. So far, we have only racked up two CF-related hospital admissions since diagnosis (then, also one overnight admission for acute tonsillitis) While CF is very prevalent in our lives, it is easy to forget how much it has impacted your life. I talk about CF all the time (probably too much on some people’s eyes!) so we never forget about it, but we have had it pretty easy so far!
You can pretty much use this analogy for all things in terms of pregnancy and planning your life. The little munchkins have their own plans and will never follow what you envision. There is no point running around like a headless chook, it doesn’t change the situation.
Best thing to do is to just roll with it as best you can!
A quote I recently saw on Facebook made me giggle, but is fairly true is: “If life gives you lemons, make them into a chocolate cake and leave everyone wondering how the F@#K you did it!”