I posted this when I first starting blogging, but I am repeating it because some of you may be new readers and not seen it yet. I read this a couple years ago and it has meant so much to me since our daughter was born.
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 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 have dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there has been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is 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 new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met.
It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you have been there for a while and 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 coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about the wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you are going to 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 very, very significant loss.
But, if you spend the rest of your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, very lovely things...about Holland.
By Emily Pearl Kingsley 1987