Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Welcome to Holland

(December 2009)

"Welcome to Holland"
By Emily Perl Kingsley, 1987.

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 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, 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.

We are so thankful our London took us to Holland. It's the most lovely place we have ever been. The unexpected change in destination is exactly where we were suppose to go all along, changed us to whom we have become and changed how we will live the course of our lives. As hard as it's been in "Holland" at think we could have missed "ALL" that was this last year makes my heart sad.

alpha-1, liver mum


Nicole said...

I love this!! What more is there to say...

Steve and Sara said...

We love Holland too!

Emily said...

Well said, Liz. Very well said.

Jeannie, Jane, Angel, Mommy, etc.. said...

Such a wonderful way to put it!

Julia said...

I love that! Cute picture of LuLu, too, but it looks like James has man-boobs in that picture.

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head! How beautiful and so my life! Thanks for sharing!!

Jennifer Wallace

Carrie Page said...

Beautifully written, as always.

Not sure if you got my email about Ragnar, just disregard...he found a team. Thank you anyway! Good luck w/ the upcoming marathon!

mindi dellinger said...

I still read this everytime I get back from primary childrens! Thank you so much and I am so glad that everything is going good with lulu. We love you guys!

Rachel said...

I'm loving holland too! thanks for the beautiful words. lulu looks great!


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