Welcome to Holland

By: Emily Pearl Kingsley

"I am often asked to describe the experience of raising
a child with a disability...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...After months of anticipation,
the day finally arrives...
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 now you must go out and buy new guidebooks. 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 awhile and you catch your breath, you look
around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills,
Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt's.
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 go away,
because the loss of that dream is a 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."

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Welcome to Holland