Sunday, April 20, 2008

Welcome to Holland

How you ever imagined what it would be like to hear that your unborn child - the perfect baby you have been dreaming about- has a disability? This essay by Emily Perl Kingsley describes the emotions better than anything else I have come across.

"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 the way, I LOVE TULIPS!


Laura said...

I never get tired of reading that, and I love tulips,too. So, glad spring is here and loved the pictures. Laura

Jan said...

The story is profound . . . Did you ever think that Holland is really where you "wanted" to go, but didn't even know it existed? I LOVE tulips, too!!!

hiatt family said...

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing! I loved the pictures taken at the tulip festival.

Becky & Joseph said...

That was a great way of putting it that I've definitely never considered before. Thanks for letting others gain that perspective, too.

Sonja said...

I think this is one of most profound parables I have come across. I'm so glad you shared this Sunny! It's just beautiful. Speaking of, I LOVE your new blog look. That picture on your header is breathtakingly beautiful.

Linnea said...

Life is full of unplanned destinations. The trick is to be able to enjoy the flight!

kristi said...