Stuffsoup – a little blog with a lot of "stuff"

Welcome to Holland

Posted in 30-day vegan cleanse by stuffsoup on March 8, 2010

Tonight, I went to the Minnetonka parent group meeting (it is part of the Down syndrome Association of MN) and I thought I could write something about how I left the house and forgot to grab something to eat (thus only blueberries for dinner – and in the car no less) or I could write about having a child with a disability. Then, I thought about the essay by Emily Perl Kingsley called “Welcome To Holland” and didn’t think I could do much better than that, particularly as a start, so here it is in case you’ve never seen it.

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

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.

Day 18 – go

Breakfast – gs apple with peanut-butter dip

After-workout snack – almonds and a Larabar in cherry pie

Lunch – yummy pad thai

Snack – dried fruit

Dinner – blueberries

Even if I am eating blueberries in the car, I am glad to have a group of people who have been to Holland to touch base with now and again. It keeps things in perspective for me and I appreciate that.


4 Responses to 'Welcome to Holland'

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  1. Deanna said,

    Love this.

  2. Michele, that was beautiful! You are a wonderful mother, wife and a friend! I’m pretty certain you’ve added a lot of sunshine and beauty to all the other lives that are in Holland.

  3. Kim said,

    …and the lives that aren’t in Holland!

  4. stuffsoup said,

    Thanks, ladies!

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