She wasn't much to look at.
The first time I saw her I knew that she would be necessary. I knew that she would become a part of our family.
She represented a new stage of life.
I looked down in hopes of seeing my feet, but they were out of view. All that I could see was my ever growing belly. Our third blessing would be arriving soon and that is why she would be necessary. And so we traded in, bargained, and brought her home. She was nameless, but that wouldn't last long.
Besides being necessary, she was important. When that third bundle made his grand entrance, she carted him home.
She was roomy. Her doors opened differently and that in and of itself made me secretly fond of her. I could push a button or pull a handle and she went into automatic mode. I had never experienced this luxury, but when loading and unloading two little people and a baby, well, her doors made me feel as if just maybe this mothering thing could work without me having to grow a third arm.
I appreciated the options she offered by way of seating. A fact of life that I have come to embrace is that children get along much better when they are unable to touch or breath upon one another. It's part of a chain with a trickle down effect. When kids get along, Mommy's mental state is somewhat more intact. When Mommy shows a semblance of sanity, the household functions more properly. (Coffee also plays a key role in all of this...coffee for the Mommy not the kids.)
Oh, and about her name. Well I've already written about it before. We came to affectionately refer to her as Dory. That would be the same Dory as the fish with short term memory loss in the movie Finding Nemo.
She seemed to forget that she didn't come equipped with certain features. The main one to speak of was the helpful little beaping noise that would sound to let you know if you were about to back over something. Even if she had come with this option, it wouldn't have helped when you're driving 70+ miles per hour on the interstate. And that is when she would beep. Upon further reflection, maybe she was just trying to impress us.
It started to become apparent in the end that her days with our family were numbered. As Ellie Kate put it,"Dory has given up on us 3 times."
It was also quite unfortunate that I drove her 60+ miles per hour (for several miles) with the parking brake on. My bad.
And so in the end she struggled. She was one repair shop visit away from costing us more than we had originally paid for her.
She was a swagger wagon that had lost it's swagger.
But I have to say that I am thankful for her mostly reliable service to us.
And so as I drove her to the dealership to drop her off for the final time, I verbalized my thanks. I felt as if I was turning in a season of our lives. Important things had taken place within her doors.
Countless conversations had occurred during times of travel whether to school or to visit grandparents.
I couldn't help but recount a testimony of progress in Emmett's life. It was in her very back seat that instead of buckling Emmett in as Ellie Kate had always done, she instead taught him to buckle his own seatbelt. Yes it was within her doors that Emmett had gained this measure of independence. With her seatbelt fitted snuggly around his little self I had been afforded the opportunity to heap praise upon him for such a big accomplishment, as well, as assuring Ellie Kate that she was indeed the best big sister.
And so as I made the turn into the dealership to park her for the last time and turn over her keys, I think she responded to my many "thanks" with an almost audible,"I'm sorry, what's your name?"
Ah Dory you won't be forgotten.
Thank you for your service.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
WELCOME TO HOLLAND
Emily Perl Kingsley.
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.