In the world of special needs, people who “get it” are few and far between. Too often it feels like we live on another planet from the rest of the world, as opposed to just in the proverbial Holland. You know immediately in a conversation if someone “gets it.” Or doesn’t. “Have you tried just not feeding him and eventually when he is hungry enough, he will eat?” And just like that, everything you were going to say just seems pointless to share. Or too labor intensive to explain the context and details that give your struggles meaning. And so we don’t. It just seems easier to continue to be isolated than to try to get people to understand the complexities of what we are dealing with. But when you meet someone who does get it, the contrast is stark. A single comment can provide so much validation that we so deeply desire. What you have to share is understood at a deep level, the difficulties and implications, the feelings and the worries. All of it. Sometimes you don’t even need words, skipping over large sections of details, because with so many shared experiences you can both arrive at the same understanding without them. “YES!” dots the conversation. And it feels like coming home. Or a deep and nourishing breath of fresh air. And when you encounter upon these people, there is an instant bond. You may find yourself swapping email addresses with a stranger at the grocery store. Or hugging someone you barely know. But who, somehow, you also know very deeply. Someone else who, just like you, has been to Holland. And that, is priceless. ©
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