Many parents of special needs children share this poem by Emily Perl. It’s really encouraging because it gives your path a new feeling and new meaning. It just makes sense and states feelings in a way most of us cannot. We all want our life to be a trip to Italy and when we land in Holland, we have to appreciate the scenery. We have to watch people taking their trips to Italy while we learn to smell the tulips and build an appreciation for Holland. I was ready for the slower pace of Holland. I was ready to give up the dream of Italy. But how on earth did we end up in Haiti? I didn’t read that anywhere in the poem.
Bryce and I have joked about our move to Haiti throughout this process. Joking is how we feel normal. But if I were to be honest with myself, Haiti is how this feels many mornings when I wake up and remember why my son isn’t home with me.
As our plane departed for Italy, it took a detour to Holland. We looked out the airplane window down at the landscape of Holland and thought to ourselves, “Ok, we are fine with this. Let’s stop here and we will love it and never try to leave. We promise.” But the plane flew over Holland and turned south. It kept flying and flying and flying. Where are we going? It’s getting hot. We are getting uncomfortable. Where are we landing? Say what?!? We are in Haiti. Oh hells no. I did NOT buy that ticket.
It’s harder to find the beauty in Haiti. Yeah sure there are beaches, but come on, the storm has taken its toll on the former white sand. The food is good, but it’s too different and gives me a stomach ache. The people are courageous and welcoming, but they have suffering in their eyes. Am I a Haitian now? There is no return flight. Forget Italy, what I would give to have ended up in Holland.
I get to find beauty in the calloused, the broken and scraps of former homes left after the storm. As callouses smooth out, they become tough and resilient. As our stomachs get used to the new tastes, they start to desire the cuisine and find ways to cook the food. As we tear through the roughage, we pick up the pieces of our old homes that meant something to us, and we build new homes. Haiti has guts. It has character. It has #1 bestseller stories. Frankly, Italy and Holland couldn’t last a day in Haiti.