Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Welcome to Holland


I have shared this on my old blogs before but wanted to share again this year for Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I first read this poem aloud in the car with Joel when Noah was in the NICU a few days after he was born. We both cried our eyes out. It does mean something to me but not my own feelings but still touches my heart and emotions when I read it.  I feel lucky that I do not mourn what Noah has brought into my life. I feel so blessed beyond my own imagination to live my days with him. Even on the crazy days I am so blessed.

I know that I am one of the lucky ones and blessed to walk this path on Earth with my sweet angel.


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."

"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.

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....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 planned."

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 Holland.


Happy Wednesday everyone!


Amber Rosie said...

This is beautiful, Beverly. I really like how the writer wrote that piece. It gives a lot of perspective, and a lot to think about!

Jenny said...

I have read that before, probably here last year. It's beautiful!

Jamie said...

Amazing piece.
A perspective to keep in mind no matter what life brings.
It is nice to "meet" you via Picture Fall. You images are stunning. Such emotion and depth.
Jamie (phootnotes)

PinkInklings said...

I have never read this piece before, but OH!, it is beautiful. A treasure. An excellent life lesson. Thank you for sharing : )