Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Trip To Holland

This is a beautiful story about what it is like to have a child with a disability. Jacob I am proud and honored to have taken this trip to Holland with you. I love you so much.

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... See More... See More ... See Moreyour 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


  1. I absolutely love that story and relate so much. Our journey with CHDs is so different and yet so similar. I hate that anyone has to go through this, but everyone that does grows so much and changes in so many ways...always for the better.

    Treasure your time in Holland.

  2. The thing with this story that really bugs me is WHAT'S SO BAD ABOUT HOLLAND?!?!? It's better than Italy any day! It's cozier, quainter, the road less traveled. We should all pick Holland over Italy a little more in life anyhow. I usually do. I don't think the analogy, for at least me, is very effective. The idea of not going to Italy would NOT bother me for the rest of my life - and it hasn't. If one sits and stews about a minor change in vacation plans, then your life is going to be very hard and rough. And while your plane is headed to Holland, it's best to sit back with a smile on your face, NOT WORRY about how many windmills or tulips there'll be, and think about how cool it is that you're going somewhere millions have NOT been. That makes us cooler, in the end.

  3. I think the whole point of this story has little to do with Italy & Holland, it just has to do with changes in plans, saying even though plans have changed, we can all See the joys in the change, getting pregnant you never imagined a child with disabilities, however they are no less a blessing than a child born with a disability. Our children are all perfect !