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 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?!?" 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.

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

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

by Emily Perl
. All rights reserved. Article printed with permission of the


8 thoughts on “Welcome To Holland

  1. Hi there! Do you know of a vegan alternative for cottage cheese that you can by at the store and not make from scratch? A friend of mine asked me who is trying to go vegan. I wasn’t a fan of cottage cheese when I ate dairy so I haven’t looked for one.

    I hope all is well with you. Haven’t seen you in a while so I thought I would bop over.

    Happy Tuesday!

  2. OK. I have to elaborate on that, because it’s been bugging me for some time.

    Why do you leave comments on my blog that have absolutely nothing to do with the subject of that blog. I posted a piece about having a child with a life altering chronic illness.
    You submitted a comment asking me for a vegan alternative to cottage cheese. I’m not even vegan – I’m ovo-lacto vegetarian. This is something that anyone who reads my blog knows. Not only does your comment have absolutely nothing to do with my post, it is irrelevant to my life.
    This is a continuing trend with most every comment I have ever received from you. Is there a reason for it?

    I’m sorry for the rant, but it’s just so frustrating.

  3. Thank you, knq.
    It was sent to me by my sister in-law. I’d never seen it before last week, but it quickly entered a very special place in my soul.

  4. I am very sorry about the comment having nothing to do with the topic. I am terribly sorry I offended you. That was horrible of me. Please forgive me. That was very inconsiderate on my part and I apoligize and feel terrible.

  5. Harmonia:
    I don’t think that anything you do is horrible. But it was something that had started to really bug me. So I figured that I’d address it, in order not to develop a sense of resentment toward you.
    I think you are a very nice person. Everything that I’ve seen you do, appears to have the best of intentions. It’s just that when I go to other folks’ blogs, I try to make sure that I respond to the post that they’ve taken time compose…rather than simply trying to direct them to my own blog. Does that make sense?
    And once again, I don’t think you are horrible, terrible or any of the things you called yourself. I think you’ve just got a lot on your mind.

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