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Welcome to Holland

Ok, for those of you who read the title of this blog and know what I am referencing downloadkudos! However, don’t stop reading if you think you know what I will be talking about. For those who are unfamiliar with “Welcome to Holland,” it is an essay written in 1987 by American author and social activist Emily Perl Kingsley, about having a child with a disability. It says this:

“When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks 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 some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. 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, 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.”

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, the very lovely things about Holland.”

I share this with you not because I am pregnant or have a child with a disability, but because life happens. I share this so that in the times in which your life did not turn out as you planned or expected you can find peace. I share this so that you can see the good in where you are and the blessings and beauty around you despite not being where you thought you would be.  When you find yourself wishing you were in Italy, remember that you are where you are meant to be and that place just may be Holland.

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