Friday, July 01, 2005

Welcome to Holland

Welcome to Holland
By Emily Pearl 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 wonderful plans.

The Coliseum, The Michaelangelo David, The Gondolas in Venice. You may even 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"

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some 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. You must learn a whole new language, and you meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place, it's a slower pace than Italy, less flashy than Italy.

But after you've been there a while you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has Windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

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."

The pain of that will never, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your time mourning the fact that you didn't get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, and the very lovely things about Holland.

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