Sunday, August 31, 2008

Welcome to Holland

After Reid was born one of Luke's preschool teachers told me of this poem, Welcome to Holland. It lifted my spirits then and again this evening when I came across it on the internet. I am actually loving my detour to Holland...I didn't know I would be visiting...but I'm here...been here 20 months now and I'm adjusting well to my new surroundings. Luke is learning a lot about life on this trip too and he'd tell you there isn't any other place he'd be if it means being able to be with his "best brother". From time to time we'll be posting about the sites we see here in Holland and the things we are learning from this trip.

Welcome to Holland
by Emily Pearl 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 guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michalangelo 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 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 go out and buy new guidebooks. 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, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're 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." The pain of that will never go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your time mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, very lovely things about Holland.


Kele said...

Indeed this Holland is a place of beauty!!

Cleo said...

Hi Cheri, I found you @ the Gifts website. Reid is a cute, sweet and happy angel!!!. I agree with Kele Holland is a beautiful place and I like it a lot :)
Many Blessings ~

Conny said...

OMG, what a little cutie! I fell instantly in love with this little guy! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Monica Klingsporn said...

That's one of my favorite poems. Thanks for taking the time to post it and for sharing your experience.