Saturday, February 20, 2010

Welcome to Holland

The first time I stumbled across this, it was posted by someone from the Delayed Darlings online group where I am a member. It really hit home and I thought it was beautiful. So I'd like to share it with you!

Welcome To Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with 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. It really is beautiful. And it gives you an idea how lovely and enjoyable the unexpected country can be.

  2. Wow that really sums up how i feel at the moment - actually i'm still as the shock stage of the stewardess saying welcome to Holland! But what a useful story to use when explaining to others who would still rather believe you went to Italy just not Rome because they can't get their own heads around holidays in Holland!!

    Thank you for posting this - and also for your blog. I have a 9 month old daughter low tone & lost of unexplained stuff due to duff chromosomes. It's a new country, new book, new life ... like a new pair of shoes it pinches a bit but they are a glorious red shiny high heeled pair and they are mine!