Dec 11, 2009

Welcome to Holland

byEmily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

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.

I found this article on another JRA blog and thought I would share. It had me in tears because everything she says is so true. She put into words EVERYTHING I feel, it is amazing to me and I think it is beautiful, I am so glad I came across this!


Sara said...

Wow. That opened my eyes to the lives that parents of special needs children face... I'm going to pass that along to another friend of mine.

Summer said...

O.K. I am crying right now!! Thanks so much for this post! We have our normal now!!
Love ya
Summer :0)

Anonymous said...

oh how I love the new look on your blog, and beautiful pictures of your model!!! She is so stylish. Merry Christmas Season

Erika said...

Isnt that soooooo true Lesli?! Oh my word.... that writer nailed it on the head completely. How about the fact that if people ever complain about the weather in Italy... you know? You are still in Italy, dont take that temporary weather condition for granted. You know?! I will post on my blog, its great, thank you Lesli!