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WELCOME TO HOLLAND

Posted on Mar 08 , 2012 in Blog

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 are 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 has been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing to remember is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you meet a whole new group of people you would have never met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy then 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.

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