My clock’s battery stopped working so I took it off the wall in order to replace it. It’s an oversized clock but it runs on two little AA batteries. I used a screwdriver to pry the back off the case and a few minutes later, I thought I was back in business.
But when I hung it back up, it was obvious I had a problem.
In turning the clock over, I damaged the mechanism. While the longer hand still counted the minutes, the smaller hand was not working. In fact, no matter where I’d place the hour hand, gravity would pull it to 6 o’clock.
It’s frustrating when you have a certain expectation and it doesn’t get fulfilled. I figured I would have to throw the whole thing away. But then I noticed something…
As the minute hand rotated around, it would hook the edge of the hour hand and, with incremental ticks, carry it to the top of the clock. At just a few minutes past the hour, the minute hand would drop its hold. Like a pendulum, the hour hand swung to and fro like some crazy time piece from Alice in Wonderland.
It was hypnotizing.
I kept it on the wall and found myself waiting for each hour to pass so I could see the arm make its wild swings and then come to a rest again. It was unexpected, this event, and it made me think of a poem I’d received from a mom of a special needs child years ago.
Both are reminders to enjoy the life you’re living, even if it’s not what you expected.
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 guidebooks and make 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 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 guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would 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 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 go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…about Holland.
©1987 BY EMILY PERL KINGSLEY.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.