WELCOME TO HOLLAND by Emily Perl Kingsley Welcome to Hollandc1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
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 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 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.
Gloria, mom to Scott (19 w/RTS) and Lizzy 4
I haven't made it to Holland yet, my plane crash landed. No one around me can help, they never crash landed before, there flights have always made it to Italy, their life vests don't fit me, and no one has a rescue boat, but they say they will pray for me. I'm treading water, and the waves are relentless, sometimes I am swept under by the waves with all the tests, appointments, and pain my son goes through. Sometimes the wave of grief pulls me under for the longest time, so deep I cant see the light at the surface.My friends and family are flying above, looking down at me with sad faces, they don't know what to do or say, sometimes they don't say anything at all, I watch them living as if everything is normal, I guess it is for them, dont they see me drowning down here. Even God it seems just watches me fight to keep afloat. I can see Holland's coast, its not too far away, I know that its "coast guard" will be what brings me to my new home. Thank you to all of you, you know my deepest pain, you share my broken heart, I see hope in all your stories. The strength that me and my family will gain, the lessons to be learned. Right now I'm still off the coast treading water, the waves are still too high, but I will keep fighting to stay afloat, and I will be home soon.
By Jessica Pruitt 2007
mom to Noah 6, Joel 3, Alex 4mo RTS