Jan 10, 2010

welcome to holland

For those of you out there that haven’t read this I would love to share it with you.

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.

by Emily Perl Kingsley

20 sweet comments:

Destini said...

Although I've read that probably 100 times, it still makes me cry. There are definitely some beautiful things about Holland!

The Leonard Four said...

chills my friend, chills. i think that was a perfect description and your strength amazes me...almost as much as the little boy of yours! :)

Caden and Mommy said...

Katie ... I've seen this before. I love it ... all except the last two paragraphs. I have never felt pain that Caden is an LP, yes my plan changed. But Dan nor I have never felt a loss over it. It was just a different path :0)

Slinkard Family said...

This post really spoke to me. I know exactly how that feels. Our little one was eight weeks early, leaving us in crisis mode and feeling unprepared. A subsequent diagnosis of cerebral palsy also leaves us feeling like we're in 'Holland'.

I enjoy your blog and a big congratulations on the new addition!

Susan

The Lee Family said...

Katie- I am college friends with Niki Dunham and found your blog through hers. I just wanted to tell you that your family it is the cutest! I am a special needs preschool teacher and teach all preschoolers with various disabilities. Even though I cant personally relate, I can understand how wonderful ALL children and adults are no matter what their path in life is. You are a strong person and saying lots of prayers on your new little boy addition. Thanks for sharing your story.

Jane said...

i just stumbled upon your blog today and i wanted to tell you what a cutie pie cole is and thank you for posting this! we just found out in december that our 10 month old, camden, has achondroplasia. it's been a month of huge changes for us and this describes how we've felt perfectly!

Mandy said...

I love this. So well said. Holland is amazing. Holland is perfect.

Alex said...

WHen I was first told about Anais, a good friend of mine sent me this poem and it changed me forever! I love it!

Anonymous said...

I'm like Destini, everytime I read this I tear up because I think about the WONDERFUL raising that my parents gave me and always let me know how blessed they were when God gave them a Holland. :)


Tonya

Jane said...

Of course you can add us!

Melisa said...

I stumbled across that on POLP a few months after Aidan was born. Makes me cry all the time.

Kele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

Hi Katie, I came across your blog today through Kim's site. I love this poem about Holland. I read it in the LPA book and then we had friends of ours give it to us framed shortly after our Max was born. We found out he has achondroplasia after he was born. Feel free to stop by and read about our family and our little Max :-) He is truly a blessing! (whatisbig.blogspot.com). Good luck with your pregnancy and i will continue to read along!

Melissa Swartley said...

I love this! I've read it a few times and it always warms my heart! I think I posted it among the first few posts of my blog or Caring Bridge page somewhere, I may have to re-post it, as it is so truely beautiful!

Tiffany said...

My college professor read this to us one day after her nephew was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome. It's so different hearing it now! Thanks Katie!

Mollie D said...

I just stumbled across your blog. Sometimes i like to click the "next blog" button on the Navbar and see what God brings up for me to read.

I just want to say that i think you are incredibly brave. Brave for being so honest in your blogs, and for saying how you really feel instead of what you think people expect you to say.

'A sigh of relief' really showed your honesty and your heart.

I thank God that he's blessing you with a healthy little boy in this pregnancy.

But I also think your little man Cole is wonderfully and fearfully made and truly beautiful and is so lucky to be blessed with a Mummy that thinks that too.

I hope you don't mind that i commented.

Lisa said...

OK! I'm just like Destini - to this day 5 1/2 years later, still can't read that poem without crying. And, I've read it countless times! I actually read it at a March of Dimes even when liz was less than a year old. I practiced the thing - reading it about 20 times a day - so that I could just get thru it.

Bethany said...

I love my life in Holland. :)

Anonymous said...

My daughter too has special needs (brain damage at birth) and I love this poem (not the right name, but you know what I mean). I recently became your friend on FB, and I wanted to tell you that I really admire you and the way you have opened yourself up. I relate to you, because you remind me of me. :-) No one is above having a child with special needs. You and I are examples of that. You can be the most upstanding, put together, and wonderful person. Maybe you are a shopoholic or you like to drink too much wine with friends. You too can have a child with special needs. So many people take for granted that they will decide to have a baby and are lucky enough to have a healthy one. I thought I would have a baby and it would be as simple as that. Litle did I know that my child would be 5 years old and not speak a word to me. My life is better though. I'm better because of Mia, and I certainly didn't expect that!

Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy with #2!!!

Lyndsay Tharp said...

WOW KATIE, I HAVE NEVER READ THIS BEFORE! IT'S SO VERY TRUE! WE CANT DWELL ON WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BUT NOW ITS IN OUR HANDS TO MAKE THE BEST LIFE FOR OUR CHILDREN! BROOKE HAS CHANGED OUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER AND NOT ONLY GIVING THE GIFT OF A CHILD BUT IT WAY MORE THAN THAT NOW! I DONT LOOK FOR WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN AT THE END BUT IT ALL ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS ALONG THE TRIP!GR