Welcome to Holland - Special Needs Baby

A poor photocopy of this was handed to me when Princess was 6 months old by the Specialist Teacher for the Visually Impaired. It made me cry then, acknowledging that Princess wasn't the baby I wanted, and still makes me well up now over 7 years later recognising that I will always be in a place I don't want to be.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND
Copyright Emily Perl Kingsley 1987

When you are going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make all your wonderful plans: the Coliseum, Michelangelo's David, the gondolas in Venice. You may even 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 has 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 go out and buy new guide books. And you learn a whole new language. And you meet a whole 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 awhile and you catch your breath, you look around and begin to notice Holland has windmills - and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone one you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they are 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 go away, because the loss of that dream is a 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, and very lovely things about Holland.

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