Monday, March 17, 2008

Welcome to Holland...

I had a friend send me this email a while back. It really meant a lot to read it, and I am becoming more and more aware that I am now in "Holland", I am learning to enjoy this journey and learning to not be so upset about not being in "Italy"...

Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability----to try to help people who have not shared the unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this....

When you are 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 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 that 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 would of never met.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you have been there for awhile and you catch your breath and you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they are 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 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.

by Emily Perl Kingsley


  1. I was going to send this to you a couple of weeks, funny eh?

    I first heard this in 2002 or 2003 at a function that the Down Syndrome society (WRDSS) put on, our old neighbours were on their board. This is what he read when he described what it was like when Megan was born.

  2. Some of the best trips are the ones we hadn't planned.

    Look at that little girl! What a smile! Holland has a lot to offer.

  3. You can apply to many different situations...any situation in life that is different than what we wanted. Instead of having an adult temper tantrum...I'm trying to look at all the positives that come out of Holland.

  4. I really appreciated this post. My "Holland" daughter is 18 years old now, and is doing so well. She is a loving and giving person, and responsible 'up to a point'.

    I found your blog by searching for other blogs that have the same title as mine: Mom's Musings. :)

    May your dear little ones grow and prosper.