Meet Justin (Dad) Lindsay (Mom) Turin (11) Ashton and Landon (8 year old identical twin boys) and baby girl Ava (3).
Don't let these gorgeous pictures fool you, we don't really live in Holland. Wildflower season in Utah is breathtaking though, which is when we took these family photos with my amazingly talented sister n law (@danandchelle on instagram). When I talk about our "Life in Holland" I mean it in a figurative sense.
Emily Perl Kingsley wrote something beautiful to describe what it's like to find out one of your children has special needs.
"When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like you’re planning a vacation to Italy. You’re all excited. You get a whole bunch of guidebooks, you learn a few phrases so you can get around, and then it comes time to pack your bags and head for the airport. Only when you land, the stewardess says, ‘WELCOME TO HOLLAND.” You look at one another in disbelief and shock, saying, “HOLLAND? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I SIGNED UP FOR ITALY.” But they explain that there’s been a change of plan, that you’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. “BUT I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HOLLAND!” you say. ‘I DON’T WANT TO STAY!” But stay you do. You go out and buy some new guidebooks, you learn some new phrases, and you meet people you never knew existed. The important thing is that you are not in a bad place filled with despair. You’re simply in a different place than you had planned. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy, but after you’ve been there a little while and you have a chance to catch your breath, you begin to discover that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland has Rembrandts. But everyone else you know is busy coming and going from Italy. They’re all bragging about what a great time they had there, and for the rest of your life, you’ll say, “YES, THAT’S WHAT I HAD PLANNED.” The pain of that will never go away. You have to accept that pain, because the loss of that dream, the loss of that plan, is a very, very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
Someone shared this poem with me many years ago when my twins were babies and it has always stuck with me.
We landed in "Holland" when one of our identical twin boys, Landon was diagnosed as a baby with spastic diplegia, a type of Cerebral Palsy. Let me begin by telling you that he's amazing. He's a fighter...a little warrior. When you meet him, you can just feel it. Finding out this kind of news was heartbreaking but we decided we would focus our energy on fighting for the very best life we could give him. As his mama bear I decided early on that protecting him was important. I never wanted him to be known as someone with a disability or a label. I wanted him to just get to be Landon. I wanted to give him the opportunity to do anything he wanted to. I protected him fiercely like any mama would. We researched, we prayed, we fought. (I'll share more about all of this later) and Landon has accomplished incredible things.
Fast forward...Ashton and Landon turned 8 this year. This has been a tough year, the toughest year to date. Landon is becoming more aware of the hard things, what doesn't feel fair, and where he feels he falls short. He often just wants to be like everyone else. It's been hard on him, hard on all of us. After all, we're all in this together. Lots of tears. Lots of questions. Lots of prayers. Since the beginning of the New Year, I've been up in the night over and over with all sorts of impressions about sharing our journey as a family. For anyone that knows me, this is far outside of my comfort zone and something I hadn't ever considered before. It became more and more clear to me that it was time to let go, to change our course. Our little Landon has beautiful gifts and one of those is his capacity to love others. He has been an inquisitive little talker since he was tiny and he hasn't slowed down. Everywhere we go, he wants to talk to everyone he can and he wants to know their life story. I suddenly became aware of the fact that in my efforts to protect him I wasn't allowing him to share his light or to embrace everything that he is. So here I am, being brave for Landon. There's no doubt in my mind that this is God's plan for Landon and for our family. Each member of our family plays a part in what makes our life beautiful and unique. I'm positive that everything is just as it should be. That doesn't mean that Holland isn't hard because it is. There are some tough realities that we face every single day. Holland stretches us beyond anything we knew we were capable of but when we stop and look around Holland is breathtaking, Holland is inspiring. It's more joyful than we ever could have imagined. Welcome to our story, welcome to Our Life in Holland.