Saturday, March 31, 2012

Welcome to Holland...and beyond

Dear Life,

I was given this letter from a doctor when we found out about Kumaka's diagnosis in utero.

by Emily Perl Kingsley

©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. 

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 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.

Below is our family's travelogue...

I was told I wasn't going to Italy as I was flying. I didn't enjoy my flight after 

that,and  I dreaded the landing. I was scared, and I was angry that I didn't get 

to go where I wanted to go. I was envious of those that were happily getting off

the plane and jet-setting through Italy having the time of their lives. Once I

landed though, I looked around and realized I could find beauty in this place.

It was not glamorous by any means, but I quickly learned that who I was with 

was more important than  where I was. I learned the language and found all

the secret roads to get  around easier. I met amazing local people who guided 

me on my way and I met amazing people getting off the plane when I did. Our 

families have toured Holland together, and done many of the same things. 

When I get lost, I look for these dear friends to guide me back to where I 

belong. I found a strength in myself and my family in Holland that Italy 

never would have given us. I found beauty, grace, and knowledge. I found an

inner peace I didn't know existed and when I was afraid of the unknown in 

Holland, I found a stronger relationship with God. Italy still sounds like fun, 

but I have found resilience in Holland, and that is something I will always be 

grateful for. I have moments of longing for Italy, but I love that I am 

vacationing in a very special place that not every person is chosen for. I am 

grateful for Holland and I wouldn't change the plane's path. Don't be afraid of 

Holland....embrace it!



  1. I read this before and I love it! I can totally relate to it with my Aleshanee. Thanks for sharing it, it's always good to read again. :)

    1. Thank you Salena...its a great poem and it helped me to write my personal ending.

  2. I love this... I can relate, and its a beautiful analogy! thank you!

  3. Beautiful story!!! Newest follower!! Also a mom to all boys, only 3!!! :) Please stop by and visit my blog,

    1. I am a new follower of you as well. Thank you for coming over...I love all my mommy of boys friends!

  4. What a beautiful way to look at life's journey's. Thanks so much for linking up with us.


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