Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Welcome to Holland

I recently joined a new listserv that speaks to the challenges of parenting a child with a certain disability which shall remain unnamed. As I'm getting all the regulations and rules of conduct and etiquette of this particular list, they sent me this little gem, which I absolutely love.

I think anyone raising a child with any type of disability will agree, and appreciate it as I do. Read on.....

Emily Kingsley wrote this in 1987 to describe her personal feelings on having a child with a disability, a lot of people feel this but dont know how to express it, I have seen many people ask for it in various stages of my life, and come across it in a book and thought Id post it here for future reference.

Welcome to Holland-

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabuous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. Its all very exciting.
After mojnths 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 theres been a change in flight plans. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they havn't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. Its 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 never have met.
Its just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you have 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 signigicant loss.
But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didnt get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things....about Holland.

Emily Perl Kingsley, 1987

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Justylou said...

Welcome to Holland should be required reading for any parent of a child with special needs. Thanks for sharing.

Be gentle.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

You got my vote today with this post. I spread my vote between you and one of two others every day.

Beautiful sentiment. I have been engaged with all types of disabilities in my life: MD in an aunt my own age started us and soon we were going to Grandma’s classes at the State Hospital to watch her teach...

I digress. This idea that there is a lovely life to be had should be spread about.

Do you read Kelle Hampton’s wonderful blog about her life in Naples Florida with Brett, Lainey and Nella?


farmbeachgal said...

Shannon, I feel the same way!
Lynda, thanks. I checked out Kelle's blog; I like it. I've added it to my bloglist so I can take a few more peeks here and there and explore some more.

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