Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Welcome to Holland

Not really about autism, but I really like this so I'm posting it amyway. By Emily Perl Kingsley. Via Our Kids a site for parents of children with special needs.

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.


At 2:47 PM, Blogger Katie said...

What a wonderful analogy. I don't have the special blessing of knowing anyone with autism, but I truly believe that all children are gifts from God and that those children who come in a "different" package are extra special. From my observations, the parents who feel that way seem to be the best prepared to meet their children's unique challenges successfully.

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Beth said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have two friends with autistic children and this helped me see how they may feel.

Thanks for stopping by and posting on my blog today. It's nice to meet you. I did choose some Lorna's Laces. I haven't successfully knit a pair of socks yet, but I'm determined to start and finish at least one pair!

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Hey Doc, I have looked for your email address so I can write back regarding the comments you left on my blog, but I can't find it. The Needle and Canvas was a nice store, and for the sale I would say it's worth the trip, although I'm not sure where you're coming from. But she had some Debbie Bliss and some other stuff. I wouldn't say her inventory was as chi-chi as the Needletree, but she had a big variety. No sock yarn to speak of, though. Just some Trekking XXL in what I think of as "manly" colors.


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