Immeasurably More

More Hope, More Joy . . . Embracing Life with Down Syndrome

Welcome to Holland May 29, 2014

Filed under: Special Needs — Linda Aalderink @ 2:40 pm

Welcome to Holland

by Emily Pearl Kingsley, a parent of a child with Down syndrome

I am often asked to describe the experience
Of raising a child with a disability,
To help people, who have not shared that unique experience,
Understand it
And imagine how it would feel.
It’s like this
When you’re going to have a baby,
It’s like planning a fabulous trip to Italy;
You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans-
The Coliseum, Michelangelo’s David, the gondolas in Venice-
You may even learn some handy phrases in Italian.
It’s all very exciting.
After all the 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 has been a change in the flight plan.
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 guidebooks.
And you must learn a whole new language.
And you will meet a whole new group of people
You would never have otherwise 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 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 all bragging about the wonderful time they had.
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, ever go away,
Because the loss of that dream is a 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.