Welcome to my blog!

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit! We hope to share with you our journey of raising a child with Achondroplasia, the most common type of dwarfism. If this is your first time here, please start by reading Caitlyn's Story. It will share the beginning of her life with you. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

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. 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.

Many people can relate to this story, not just me. There are so many things in life that we just cannot plan. Having a child who is different than their peers is life altering but none-the-less a beautiful life.

But being in Holland with Caitlyn is even more beautiful then I could have ever imagined. Life cannot get any better than this. And as long as we are together as a family we are willing to travel down every road Holland has to offer.

We still have a long journey ahead of us in Holland - one full of fear, anxiety and stress but the beauty of Holland is still there. The roads here will be bumpy and full of forks but we will manage to work our way through those obstacles. We will experience happy times and times we will forget we are in Holland; but reality always brings us back to the same place; the realization that we will always be in Holland.

Holland isn't bad...it's just different. On occasion Holland becomes even more beautiful when family and friends are there to share in our experience. Will we ever leave Holland? I don't know, I am not sure I want too.


TheFiveDays said...


First...I love your blog!!

Second...I read this essay for the first time right after Jacob was diagnosed with autism and it helped me so much. I think it is a really well written, and I enjoyed reading it again. Thanks for posting it!!! :)

How Life Is Measured said...

I love this description! Good to have another blogger on board!
Take care!

Tonya said...

Holland wasn't our first choice, but it has been a wonderful place to live!!

jodijojo said...

So well said Jaime, I feel the same, but you put it so eloquently.

jodijojo said...

So well said Jaime, I feel the same, but you put it so eloquently.

Post a Comment