Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Welcome to Holland

This story was shared with me by my best friend. It is for every person who has loved and had the priviledge of raising a child with any type of disability. I hope it touches your heart...

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.

By Emily Perl Kingsley, 1987.


The Ridgway Family said...

THat is one of my absolute favorite poems. It was shared with me while I was still pregnant with Eden and we found out that she had Down syndrome and her heart defect. I loved it so much that I shared it at her memorial service. It really does relate to any of us who have had the privilege of mothering and raising, if only for a short time, one of God's special and unique children. Thank you for posting it as it gave me the opportunity to read it again and think of my Eden. I think of you often and your angel Annabelle and hope that you are finding sunlight amid the storm. I know and I am sorry. Thank you!
Love and hugs,

Angela said...

It's 'funny' how God works. I remember seeing this poem in college when I was taking a special education class. I was a regular ed teacher and really had no experience with special needs children, but for some reason, this poem really spoke to me. I saved it for years in my file cabinet. Four months ago, I found out that my newborn son, Benjamin, has Down syndrome. I immediately thought of this poem again. Wow. And I just love it. Thanks for the reminder. :)


Lindsay Dean said...

How beautiful! And so true. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful poem with everyone. We are truly blessed.
Hope you are recovering well from vacation!

Anonymous said...

I have never heard that poem, but I love it. It was beautiful, and helps me to see the blessing in being in "Holland" now since losing London. Sometimes we just need a fresh, new perspective. Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Rebecca thank you! Im having one of those "I didnt sign up for Holland" days, so this put things into perspective for me and I am reminded again to thank God for every moment, be it different than I expected!
Beautiful poem!
Glad we got to chat today. Will talk after we see how things go tomorrow and plan some time together. Miss you!

The Mason Family said...

This poem was shared with us when we were still pregnant and found out about Carlie's true it is! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read it wishes.

Shannon Mason

Staci Klotz said...

WOW! How true. I try so very hard to instill in my daughter that life does not always go as planned and each day will only be what you choose to make of it. You can choose to embrace it and choose to enjoy the ride and what may come. Or you can choose not to. What an encouraging poem. We don't know what God has planned for us or why. At times it can be downright discouraging when it doesn't go as we had planned. There is always a brighter side to everything, we just sometimes have to wait on the clouds to clear to see it. Rebecca, thank you for your many encouraging words. I can't tell you how many times I have thought of you and your ability to "see past the clouds to the sunshine". I hope you are doing well. Your Disney pics are precious!! I still pray for you and your family.

MC said...

Rebecca, I have never seen this poem before, but it is so true. I have thought about you and Annabelle so much during these past months. I'm praying for you and am continually amazed at your strength. Your testimony is truly an inspiration.