Sunday, January 13, 2008

Welcome to Holland

Hey all, I ran across this story a few weeks ago, and just wanted to share it with you all. Hope you enjoy it. - Ryan

Welcome to Holland

by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often 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's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your 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've 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 guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

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 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 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 a very 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.

4 comments:

Amber said...

Wow that is a pretty powerful story, it really makes you sit back and think about things.

Jon and Amber

Jan said...

Someone sent me this story when we were waiting for our first grandchild to be born. It is very true, even though it might not be the journey you were expecting it can be rewarding in different ways.

dhealy said...

What a great story! I sent it on to the grandparents of the 10 year old boy who has MSA as they are always asking how you guys are doing...
Diane Healy

MJ & BS said...

One of my favorites, even though I'm not a parent. There are a few follow ups, if you're interested in reading it you can at
http://www.our-sma-angels.com/Margaret/poems%20and%20songs/Poems/holland2.htm
and
http://www.our-sma-angels.com/Margaret/poems%20and%20songs/Poems/celebratingholland.htm