Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Welcome to Holland

Today, the lady from kids on the move came because I am not able to make it to make it to the support groups during the day. She asked me what is one of the hardest things for you with children with special needs. I told her When I'm with my friends and around other mothers, and their children, sometimes even younger than Savannah are doing things like having a small conversation with their mom, telling them how their day at school was, or not having melt down after melt down.It's all of the little things. It brakes my heart. She told me about how parents with children with special needs have to go through the grieving proses, and even though I think I have, then something small like that happens, and I start to cry and fall apart. I wonder if Savannah will ever get there or do those things, or understand. Sometimes I can't help but compare, and then I hate myself for it, because I feel so bad. I love my sweet children so much, no matter what. She left me with this story of another mother with a child with special needs. As I read it I started to cry, because I feel the same way. She put my feelings onto that page.


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.


  1. I love this story. I have a number of special needs family members and one of the mothers has shared this story on her blog in the past. I think its a great way to express how you feel. Your children are beautiful. Someone once told me that children with special needs were so perfect in heaven that they didnt need to be tested here on earth. So they recieve a golden ticket basically back to the celestial kingdom. How amazing of a mother you must be that Heavenly Father trusted such perfect spirts in your hands.

  2. I love that story. Even though I've never had a child with special needs, I now know what it means to have your plans for your child changed drastically from what you had hoped for. That story really spoke to me. I know I will never get to Italy myself in this lifetime...but I have to remember what I still have in Holland. Perfect symbolism!! Thank you for sharing it!!

    I love you so much and admire all of your strength that you show in loving those sweet children of yours, despite the disappointment that they aren't the idea of perfection you had in mind. The Lord thinks of them as perfect though and I know it's pretty humbling as a mother to have that perfect child. You will be so blessed for the sacrifices and love you show to them. Cherish every minute you have and when the grief sets in, know that you have so many that love you and can identify with it. I'm here if you ever need an ear. Love you, Nicole!