Saturdays are my favorite day of the week, especially in the spring and the summer, when the weather gets warm. Jeff is (usually) home and takes the girls outside to work with him so I can have a little "me" time, which usually involves toilet scrubbing and laundry. But nonetheless, I get a little break.
However, it isn't long before I hear a tap at the door or several urgent doorbell ringings. As I open the door, I am greeted by two little girls with hands full of dandelions and faces full of smiles. "Here, Mommy, for you."
I love that. And I don't think it will ever get old. Ever.
A few weeks ago, we had a Saturday that followed that exact series of events. As I relished the moment, I filled a plastic cup with water, gently placed my gifts inside, set it on the kitchen counter, and happily went back to cleaning the bathroom.
A quick water break led me back to the kitchen, where I noticed that the plastic dandelion cup was actually sitting next to a glass vase full of purple tulips Emma and I bought a few days before in honor of Brooklyn. We both agreed she would like them, so we "splurged."
As I saw the contrast of those two vases, my human nature took over and I started to go there...
Brooklyn will probably never be able to run around the yard on a Saturday morning with her sisters.
She will have to watch them from afar.
And she will never bring me bouquets of dandelions...at least not without a lot of physical effort.
When these types of moments come, I have learned to literally look Up. And just like every time I choose to that, God revealed something amazing to me. This time, He drew my eyes back to the tulips. The beautiful, beautiful tulips.
How in the world did I miss their beauty?
And then He fixed my eyes on both flowers:
The dandelions...bright like the sun, full of life, carefree, and a bit wild.
The tulips...purple like Royalty, peaceful, carefully constructed, and a bit more fragile.
Both created by God. Both beautiful in their own way. Both perfect in His image.
My mind was then drawn to a short essay someone sent my Mom days after we found out about Brooklyn:
WELCOME TO HOLLAND
by Emily Perl Kingsley
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.
Interestingly enough, going to Italy has always been a dream of mine, and Jeff and I were fortunate enough to literally go there a few years ago. It lived up to every expectation I had, and we absolutely loved it there.
But I know we will love "Holland" as well, and I'm pretty sure it will surpass all of our expectations.
After all, I hear they have lots and lots of tulips there.