Sunday, October 10, 2010

31 for 21: Holland is a Lovely Place.....

i've never posted this poem on my blog, and thought today would be good day. i love this poem! i first read it while sitting in books a million with tim and wyatt, who was less than a week old, desperately looking for any books we could find on Down syndrome. we were waiting for the results of his karyotype, and were searching for information. the only book i found was Road Map to Holland by jennifer graf groneberg, and this poem was the basis for her title. i love this poem and have shared it with many moms since i discovered it.....

Welcome to Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley

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. Michelangelo's 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.

Copyright © 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley
All Rights Reserved

holland is a lovely place....i've met so many fantastic people's not what i was expecting, but lovely nonetheless!


  1. its neat how not only did we post this poem today, but we also talked about remembering where we were when we first read it too!

  2. I really enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing it =) Holland sounds lovely.