Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Welcome to Holland

I wanted to share something with everyone who reads this blog. It's a short reading that has driven my life over the last couple years. I do not have a child of my own - but every child in my classroom becomes my own. This story has "struck with me" since the first time I read it. 

Click HERE if you would like to download a PDF version. You will want to keep it!!!

Welcome to Holland 
by: Emily Perl Kingsley (1987)

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 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.


  1. Beautiful... love this, Jamie! Italy is wonderful, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other just-as-wonderful places on this earth! God made all of the countries different for a reason, just as He makes each child special and unique. :) I love hearing about your master's degree work, your classroom and your passion for kids of all abilities. Keep sharing!!!

  2. Thanks Amanda! You are right, every child is special and unique. And I wouldn't want it any other way! But... I would LOVE to be in Italy with you right now! :)


Thanks for stopping by!