Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, Welcomes you to Holland..


I have often used this short story when speaking about the importance of play for all children, so for those of you who I have not had the honor of sharing it with for you “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 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.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
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9 comments:

  1. What a heartbreaking, inspireing and earthy story. Holland will never have the same meaning for me. HUGS

    I'm HERE.. I'm a WELCOMISTA.. a SITSta.. an east coastie (or displaced west coastie rather).. and also a hopeless attention getter myself.. JUST KIDDING!!! Caught your roll call comment and answered the call. Happy Hump Day;0}

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  2. Thats really a great post.. It makes things clear to people who need more clarity.

    some people dont 'get' it.. and stories like this really help.

    Wonderful
    tracy

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  3. That is probably the best, sweetest,description I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

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  4. over here from SITS - and you weren't last on the list!

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  5. This was inspiring and truly beautiful. I admire your ability adapt and enjoy, something I'm working on myself! Keep up the beautiful blog.

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  6. When my son was diagnosed 13 years ago, our roommate at the hospital gave us a copy of this inspirational depiction of life with a special needs child. I have four boys, each with their own special needs.

    I still cry, each time I read it. It's so very true.

    Angela

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  7. well mom, we all know how many times I have heard this story... I even use it in my writing and speeches. But eveerytime I hear/ read it, it makes me tear up a lot. Its very true and I feel that junior is a very important part of our lives-- and has sucessful made us all better people.. even when she pinches my butt!! haha Love you mommy!!

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  8. Thanks for sharing that story -- it's a wonderful way to view the detour in your life's plans.

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