William Otto

William Otto
Playing catch with Daddy!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Welcome to Holland

The decorating bug has taken hold of me so I haven't had much time to post in the last few days since we are hosting a party here tomorrow evening. However, I have been trying to find this poem I read long ago in a different life and I finally found it. Here it is;

Welcome To Holland By Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to discribe 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 are 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 gandolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phraces 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 am supposed to be in Italy." "All of my life I have dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in 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 pestilience famine and disease. Its 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 never would 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 awhile 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 are 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 signigicant 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.

So now when people ask me what it is like to have a child with special needs, I will reply with this; It is like going to Holland when you had dreamed of going to Italy. It does get better, but I still well up with tears sometimes when I think what Will will never experience, what I as a Mother will never get to experience with my son. When I see my beautiful seven month old niece already surpassing her older cousin in things there is a tinge of sadness that I experience. When everyone else is sitting down together for Christmas dinner and Will is all alone playing on the floor it makes me sad.

But when he hugs me so close and I get random kisses throughout the day I know that I am truly blessed. And what do you know, Holland is pretty awesome afterall!

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