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Welcome to Holland
By Emily Perl Kingley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability -
It's like this.........
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip -
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-
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.
Copyright 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.
Reproduced here with the permission of "Positive Parenting".
“Welcome to Holland”