Sunday, 12 August 2012

"Welcome to Holland"- A great story about special needs parenting

 When we were first going through the diagnostic process with the boys, I spoke with my sister Sarah, who is a teacher, a special eduation teacher, quite a bit.  I was full of resentment related to what was "happening" to our family.  She directed me to this website,, which had the following passage.  I cannot tell you how much it resonated with me, how comforting it was.  When you are new to special needs parenting, you feel so very alone, and you don't know where to turn, don't know what to do.  After reading this, for the first time, I understood that my boys' challenges were not a tragedy.  It's part of the reason I call my blog "The New Normal".  Because I finally understood that while life was going to change dramatically, it had just as much capacity to be wonderful.  And our family IS wonderful, just as it is.  One of my favorite bloggers posted this today, and it reminded me of that time.  He is over on  Anyway, I just wanted to share, think it's a great description of what special needs families experience on a regular basis.

See?  Unique!


Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 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 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment