Thursday, 22 April 2010

Welcome to Holland

I couldn't describe what it's like having a child with a disability any better than what Emily Perl Kingsley did, so these are her words and exactly how I feel about having Noah in our family.

"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."


  1. Thanks for sharing that Lisa. Not that anyone without a disabled child can 'get it' but it helps us understand your feelings! Also maybe those who may think oh you poor thing...but really "holland" is just as wonderful as "italy" xx

  2. Oh my goodness! That is such a well-written and beautiful analogy. :)

    I love Holland! ;)

  3. Holland, I have found is such a lovely place, a very special place.
    Love Mum.

  4. beautiful, this is one of my favorites.

    that photo of Noah is amazing.

  5. Thanks Lisa. I have a close friend with a severely disabled daughter. She once said to me, "When I was pregnant with Josie we prayed, like every parent does, to have a happy, healthy child with 10 fingers and 10 toes, and then God blessed us with something better!". So inspiring to hear people with the right attitude, I'm sure it's half the battle.

  6. We love Holland too...and we get to experience him most every week on lucky are we????

  7. That's really lovely Lisa. Noah is so blessed to have you, Aaron and the boys.

  8. I think I remember when you received that little analogy. Was it from Kerry? Noah truly is a blessing, and a real fighter.

  9. I love that analogy, it is beautiful. I feel blessed to be able to visit "Holland" often.

  10. thanks for the insight Lisa... beautiful post.

  11. That's really beautiful. Thanks for sharing. It touched my heart. xxx

  12. You have a lovely way with words.

  13. Holland.... most people wish to never go there, heck some women who are on that flight path choose to jump out of the plane before it lands but those who are there are THE MOST AWESOMEST people in the world! xx


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