As I've mentioned a thousand or so times, I got Sirius radio for Christmas, primarily so I could have access to NPR talk radio again. And in the last few days I've heard segments on a variety of topics: Fragile X Syndrome, tips on how to be a more focused and productive writer of fiction, why George Bush can never be honest about Iraq, and a bunch more.
I remember now why I've missed NPR so much. Not just because the stories themselves are so great (they are), but because the depth lets me see life from someone else's perspective.
The Fragile X story today on Diane Rehm was an interview with two mothers who each have two sons with mental retardation and autism due to Fragile X Syndrome. The interview lasted for an hour, and at the beginning, I was thinking how incredibly difficult it must have been for them to have to raise two children with so many challenges. But hearing them laugh and tell their stories about their boys sort of turned that on it's ear. They said felt lucky to have had a chance to experience life that way.
One of the woman, who's name was Megan, said that years ago her mother compared it to a trip to Italy. You always wanted to go to Italy, you did a lot of reading and preparing for your trip to Italy. You packed for the Italian climate, changed your money to Lira, and got on the plane.
But the plane landed in Holland.
"Wait a minute," you tell the flight attendant, "I'm supposed to be in Italy!"
And she replies, "Well, that may be, but you're in Holland. Get used to it."
And you can spend the rest of your life lamenting the trip to Italy that you never got to take, or you can unpack your bags and explore Holland.
What an unbelieveably wonderful way to look at life. I felt privileged to have bumped into these women and their story today. The book the wrote is "Letters to Megan", in case anyone is interested.