Welcome To Holland

    By: Emily Perl Kingsley


    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 Colliseum. The Michelangelo

    David. The gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy

    phrases in Italian.  It's all very exciting.

    After months of eagar 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, 

    "Welome 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 willmeed 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

    then 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


    But everyone you know is comming 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

    suppose 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.