Friday, December 3, 2010

A Wonderful Perspective

Welcome to Holland

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 guidebooks 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 some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. 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, 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." 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 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.
Written by Emily Perl Kingsley

3 comments:

Schauss Family Happenings said...

That is very well said...funny thing...I've never found the right book to get me through my time in Holland!

Lynzy said...

i found a chicken soup for moms with special needs children and there was another one i found on amazon that i wanted to order.. called a special kind of love or something to that nature. ever read either of those?

Schauss Family Happenings said...

I haven't ready any of those books since Ashlyn was two! I gave up...nothing fit. A friend gave me a book "Driven to Distraction"...about ADHD. That was a good read...Ashlyn is soooo hyperactive. It helped make sense of lots of things that we were going through. I find that when I'm reading...it is with Ashlyn...everyday. I never read for myself anymore. I think she needs it more than I do!