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Inspirational essay - A must read!


hockeymum June 24, 2009

This essay written by Emily Perl Kingsley is a beautiful must read for the parent of a child struggling with a disability.   I was first introduced to this on the Schwablearning board which is now this board.  I’m reposting it for all the new members who may not have read this.  Emily Perl Kingsley is a writer for Sesame Street since 1970. In 1987 she wrote "Welcome to Holland," a widely published and translated piece which compares the experience of raising a special needs child with traveling to an unexpected destination.    I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do.



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.


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MSMomm June 24, 2009

What a great story, hockeymum. Thanks for sharing.


dhfl143 June 24, 2009

I had forgotten all about this story. Thanks for the pleasant reminder.

I also enjoyed reading this interview with the author:



hockeymum June 25, 2009

I too had forgotten about this piece for awhile. I met a parent who is struggling right now and I thought of this piece to share with her, but of course I couldn't remember the name of it. I don't know how long I googled Journey to Holland, Travel to Holland, Visit to til I finally found it.
thanks for the link I'll check it out.


smwf02 July 4, 2009

I am printing this out and putting it next to me computer it is so true!


michellea July 6, 2009

I love this story - thank you for posting it again. I agree it is must read.


lisa1965 July 7, 2009

Thank you for sharing.


Teyanasmum10 July 8, 2009

oh my that bought a tear to my printing that to give to my family that just dont understand..thanx


Dhamar July 21, 2009

Sometimes its not necessary to have a child with disabilities to take the story and make it yours....It hit me all the way in to my heart!

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