this analogy written by a mother of a child
with special needs...

WELCOME TO HOLLAND



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 are 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
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 guidebooks. And you
must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a
whole new group of people you would have never 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 fo 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, 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.

written by Emily Perl Kingsley