I had forgotten all about the first time I read the poem, "Welcome To Holland." It describes so well what I was feeling at the time, and still am. I thought I would share it here.
Welcome to Holland
Written by Emily Perl Kingsley (in 1987)
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 imagine how it would feel.
It is like this...
When you're going to have a baby, it is like planning a fabulous
vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your
wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The Gondolas of
Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It is all very
After months of anticipation, the day finally
arrives. You pack your bag 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 am supposed to be in Italy. All my life I have dreamed of going to
But there has been a change in flight plan, they have
landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that
they have not taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of
pestilence, famine and disease. It is just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a new
language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never
have met before. It is just a different place. It's slower paced than
Italy. It's less flashy than Italy. But after you have been there for a
while and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice
that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, and Holland even has
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from
Italy and they are all bragging about what a wonderful time they had
there. And for the rest of your life you will say, 'Yes, that is where I
was supposed to go, That's where 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 go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very
special, the very lovely things about Holland.