Someone posted this on the local Autism Support Group Facebook page and I thought it was such a great way to describe what being a special needs parent really feels like. Sometimes it is harder than this story portrays but nonetheless it's a good story. So...enjoy!!
WELCOME TO HOLLAND
by Emily Pearl
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 say. You buy a bunch of guide books and make wonderful plans. The coliseums, 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!!!","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 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 will learn a whole new language, and meet a whole new group of lovely people you would never have met otherwise.
It's just a different place. It's slower than Italy, less flashy than Italy but after you have been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has Tulips, Holland even has Rembrandt's.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. 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 go away, because the loss of that dream is a significant loss. But if you spend your whole 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.