Sunday, July 29, 2007


It's late and I'm waiting for Michael to return from the airport with my father in law. Because I'm waiting up and the kids are asleep I've had too much time to surf the internet. While surfing I have found wonderful stories of child amputees, pictures of beautiful children missing limbs, I also (rather unfortunately) saw pictures on an actual syme's amputation along with instructions on how to do it.

However, more profound is that I came across this little story that I'd like to share with you...

Welcome To Holland
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 yourbags 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 many never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

(C) 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved


Betsy said...

Oh Niki...that's so beautiful. I loved it. We miss you guys. Another play date?

Winbrooke said...

love the photos and the Holland story.

jenna said...

Im surprised you didnt get this poem at limb clinic, this was the 1st piece of paper i recieved when logan was 4 days old. So true!

Jef said...

Holland is a beautiful, beautiful place... great story!