You Say Holland, I Say Hawaii

Dutch and I just returned from a week in Hawaii.

Just kidding. I’m speaking in code. “A week in Hawaii” actually means “a night in a hotel downtown.”

Whatever. The important part is that we got away, albeit briefly, and emotionally filled our inner vessels. While I fervently wish I had been lying on a Hawaiian beach, I was instead enjoying dining out and catching up at the cinema, close to home and at bargain rates, relatively speaking.

Hawaii, someday. Overnight downtown dates, now. And at frequent intervals.

It reminds me of the poem Welcome to Holland, which every mother of a special-needs child everywhere in the world has been given by a thousand well-meaning people when her child is first diagnosed.

That poem is like the unofficial membership card into a club you didn’t realize you were joining for the rest of your life. If you have disabled children, you know exactly what I am talking about.

But in this case, Hawaii is my Italy, and a hotel for a night downtown is my Holland. Except that Holland is also my everyday life. I live in Holland. Except I’m not eating Danishes all the time. Do people in Holland eat Danishes? Am I thinking of Denmark? Remember, my husband’s nickname of Dutch exists for no logical reason. Help.

That poem, seriously. It’s great, and I appreciate the message that there is beauty in an unexpected journey. Yes, I get it.

But enough about Holland already!

Sometimes the last thing you want to hear (especially on a day when you can’t seem to get your kid’s anti-psychotic medication at the right dose and he attacks his baby brother before the bus comes in the morning and throws a family portrait across the room—let’s hope this isn’t some sort of a sign—and tries to bite and kick you while you are moving him to a safe location) is about the unexpected loveliness of Holland.

Stop. Just, no.

Perhaps someone can write a poem about the tender mercies which pick you up and push you along when you are strung out on parenting.

Even as I typed this, I realized that someone already did.

Actually, two people.

  4 comments for “You Say Holland, I Say Hawaii

  1. January 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I hate the Holland poem. My plane to Italy? It was diverted to Beirut. There’s nothing “wrong” with Beirut, it used to be lovely and could be again someday. But my life right now? Chaos. My house that strongly resembles the shell of a bombed-out building. The threat of nuclear meltdowns on a regular basis, with no bomb siren warning system in place. Good thing there are tender mercies to be found everywhere, even in Beirut.

  2. January 22, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Those are two of my favorites. There’s also an essay called “Amsterdam International” which talks about trying to find your way around “Holland.” And I’m so glad you got to go away. Those nights in Hawaii are so needed.

  3. January 23, 2014 at 4:34 am

    I needed to come back and tell you that I think I was meant to read this today. This afternoon we had a less than wonderful cardiology appointment, you know the kind where they tell you we’re doing all we can, but he’s still teetering. I needed that hymn, “Where Can I Turn for Peace” today. And you gave it to me.

  4. January 29, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Yes, I heard the welcome to Holland thing as well, and I related to it, but it certainly isn’t a vacation, that’s for sure! I can’t seem to recall what a vacation is actually. My husband and I consider going to the grocery store by ourselves a date. Eek! 😉

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