Valerie - posted on 03/23/2009 ( 23 moms have responded )
Welcome to Holland
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability to try and help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.
Its like this.....
When you are going to have a baby its like planing a fabulous vacation trip-to italy.You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans.The coliseum the Michelangelo David,the gondolas etc.You may learn some handy phrases in in italian.Its all exciting.You pack your bags and off you go.Several hours later the plane lands and 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 Ive dreamed of going to Italy."
But there has been a change of flight plan and youve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they havnt taken you to a horrible,disgusting place full of pestilence,famine and disease.Its just a different place.So you must go out and buy different guide books and learn a new language.You will meet a whole bunch of people you never would have met.
Its just a different place,slower pace than Italy,less flashy than Italy.After a while you catch your breath and look around you and you begin to notice that 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 thats 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 significant loss.But if you spend your whole life mourning the fact that you didnt go to Italy you may never be free to enjoy the very special and the lovely things about Holland.
By Emily Perl Kingsley