Welcome to Holland

I have just been contacted by yet another wonderful mother who, having a son in special circumstances herself, decided to reach out to me to show me her support and has shared this poem with me which I think is beautiful and will for sure stay with me. I thought that others might take the same inspiration from it as Katy has been taking and this is why she thought it would be meaningful to me too!

Thank you Katy!

 

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 Colosseum. 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.
©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

 

2 Comments

  1. Reply
    Deborah Alford May 25, 2011

    These words are so so true, so many dreams and how different they have turned out to be. I cannot put into words how much love we have for our most precious daughter Isabella x

  2. Reply
    Natalie Jarvis May 29, 2011

    oh wow, how perfectly worded.
    Brings tears to my eyes x

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