Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Welcome to Holland

If you have never read this you should. I have given this story out to countless parents as I have worked with children with special needs. I have always been sort of in awe of parents who have children with special needs. They seem to have an ability to die to themselves better than most, always putting their children's needs before their own desires. Some of my closest friends are people who have children with special needs because with them there is no faking it. They don't try to be or make their lives something it is not and they have a love for the simple things in life. I like people like that. I have always wanted to be a person like that but, no offense to those with children who have special needs, I didn't want to join the club so to speak. I never thought this story would bring ME comfort. It was written for other people, other families that I would happily support from the sidelines and even from time to time get down and dirty with. I could then go home to my "perfect" children with a sigh of relief that there's was not my life and I could go on sharing this story to bring comfort to THEM. On March 8, 2010 my life changed and this is now my story. I now am destined for Holland and will never know Italy again.

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 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.

1 comment:

  1. That's a cool way to look at it. And, it just may turn out that Holland is a more hospitable place to be :)