Im sure many of you have already read this however I was just given it and thought I would share:

Welcome to Holland

by Emily Pearl Kingsley

I often am 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 is like this…

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. Michelangelo’s 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.” 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 never would have met otherwise.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, and 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 so. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. 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.


2 Responses to Trip to Holland-raising a child with a disability

  1. Patrick says:

    I am from Holland myself and as a father of a whs child, our beautiful daughter Merle.
    I am reading your comparisson and I totally agree with the point you are making. However I want to turn it around and plan your trip to Holland and get stuck in Italy. Maybe i am not objective here 😉
    Truth is, it’s very hard to hear all the people around you talk about the things that their children can do or have
    done (especially if they are the same age as yours) and you kind off feel like an outsider, try to look at what u have and enjoy every moment. So try to let go and you will see all the good, bad, funny and special moments you have with your child.

  2. chaosnks says:

    @ Patrick…I imagine its very difficult,of course Im thinking “who wants to go to Italy anyways??” its so cliche!!;)

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