Welcome to Holland
A fellow Holland mom & friend I met in college shared this poem with me. Her son also has a very rare genetic condition and they are currently going through the challenges and frustrations of diagnosing and finding the correct treatments. I actually don’t love the way this poem is written, but I do understand & receive the message, and I know that parents who have a child with any type of diagnosis or disability can relate. For me, Izzy is still my trip to Italy, but the realities of what we were expecting versus where we are now are absolutely different.
Welcome to Holland – By Emily Perl Kingsley
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like you’re planning a vacation to Italy. You’re all excited. You get a whole bunch of guidebooks, you learn a few phrases so you can get around, and then it comes time to pack your bags and head for the airport.
Only when you land, the stewardess says, “WELCOME TO HOLLAND.”
You look at one another in disbelief and shock, saying, “HOLLAND? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I SIGNED UP FOR ITALY.”
But they explain that there’s been a change of plan, that you’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
“BUT I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HOLLAND!” you say. ‘I DON’T WANT TO STAY!”
But stay, you do.
You go out and buy some new guidebooks, you learn some new phrases, and you meet people you never knew existed.
The important thing is that you are not in a bad place filled with despair. You’re simply in a different place than you had planned.
It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy, but after you’ve been there a little while and you have a chance to catch your breath, you begin to discover that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland has Rembrandts.
But everyone else you know is busy coming and going from Italy. They’re all bragging about what a great time they had there, and for the rest of your life, you’ll say, “YES, THAT’S WHAT I HAD PLANNED.”
The pain of that will never go away.
You have to accept that pain, because the loss of that dream, the loss of that plan, is a very, very significant loss.
But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.