Welcome to Holland

windmillI saw this in a recent newsletter and loved it. I googled a bit and found that it was written 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 this unique experience, to understand it, and 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 guidebooks, and make your wonderful plans. You dream of seeing the Coliseum, and the gondolas in Venice. You 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 says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?” you exclaim – “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. I have been dreaming about this for months.”

“There’s been a change in the flight plans,” the stewardess says. “They’ve landed in Holland, and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible place. It’s 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 group of people you would never have met.

It’s a different plan. It’s slower paced than Italy – less flashy. But after you’ve been there for a while and catch your breath, you look around, and begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips!

The pain will remain, because the loss of a dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you did not get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

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