If something's good, it's a good enough to parody. If a parody is good enough, it's going to ring a little true itself. "Welcome to Holland" is no different.
I've learned that people in the Special Needs community have developed a pretty good sense of humor. Like many exclusive groups where membership is involuntary, there are rules about the humor. The most important rule is: If you're in the group, you can tell jokes. If you're not, you can't. President Obama learned this the hard way on Leno. He also committed the sin of telling a joke that wasn't even funny...but I digress.
Tanya Nielson of Australia is a member of the group. She wrote one of the funniest parodies I've read in a while called "Welcome to Somalia". For those parents who find it hard to grapple with the "very lovely things" of Holland", you'll feel right at home in Somalia.
Holland seems like such a nice place:
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 that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt's.
Somalia? Not so much:
It's a scary, truly unpleasant and very different place. It's far more exhausting than Italy, more life-threatening than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and have managed to escape from the plane and are fighting for your survival you stop to breath, you look around... and are scared witless by the violence, degradation and lack of human rights. You learn to fight for things you always took for granted: education, support, understanding.
My favorite part is the last line, where she replaced:
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.
But... as you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you will never fully relate to others the trauma and emotional scarring, despondency, desperation, solitude and terrifying loneliness of Somalia.
This is what it is like bringing up a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
So next time you see a child having a meltdown in a shopping centre, or your kid is lashed out at by a SN child in their class, or you witness a mother is sitting on a bench crying as she struggles to restrain her raging 8 year old who is kicking, biting and screaming "I f**king hate you ", you can say to them:
SH!T - is that what Somalia is like? I had no idea.
God knows where this Holland is, because I sure as hell don't!
As I said in the last post, I'm glad to be in Holland because I'm crazy about Robbie just the way he is. That being said, I relate to Somalia a helluva lot more than Holland. I only have go all the way back to two Mondays ago to recall hearing "I hate you! I hate you!" as I brought Robbie into his first day of summer school - feeling the eyes of every other student, parent and teacher bear down on me as I passed through the crowd with him in my arms, kicking and screaming. I got him all the way into the classroom, only to see him bolt out of it and repeat the verbal assault on the teacher.
Some of you probably didn't find "Welcome to Somalia" all that funny. In fact, you might think it's a little cynical. All I can say is, like most inside jokes, you had to be there.