Welcome To Holland

Today we had an appointment with Nate's developmental pediatrition. He is the doctor that originally diagnosed him with Autism. I really like this man. He is very compassionate. He read this story to us in his office today. It rings so true it brings tears to my eyes. It is about a parent trying to describe the experience of raising a child with autism.

by Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

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.


Anonymous said...

Shame on you for having discovered a new group with a cool song and not sharing it with your little sister! I love this song. To iTunes to purchase it I go.

Man, this poem so on the money. I love you and can't wait to see Natey support his 2008 GAP personal ad!!!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful story indeed....one to treasure....just like you little guy!
Hope your staying warm and healthy.....all are cropping the first weekend in February.....please join us!
Love and huggers from the snowy river plains,

kelly said...

WoW...perfect analagy. Perfect story. I am so glad that you shared that. Thanks for being my f--- ray of sunshine...I know you are for the boys too.
love you oxoxox

Corinna said...

Great story!