Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Holland

Josh and I married young. Very young. Its a story I'll tell you some time, I promise. Back in those days, I never pictured our life the way it is currently. I knew we'd have babies, but I never knew we'd have a KayTar. I didn't know that the birth of our second child would totally change every aspect of our lives. I wasn't naive, I just didn't know what the future held for us. It has all been very "Welcome To Holland". If you aren't familiar with that piece, here it is:

Welcome To Holland
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."

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We're making it, but at times I look around and wonder how we got here, so far away from where we thought we would be. It seems like everything is different here in Holland. But on nights like last night, when Josh reached for my hand in the dark and just held it until we fell asleep; I know some things will always be the same, even in Holland.

6 comments:

Melanie G said...

Wow, what a great way to describe it. I've been reading your blog for a little while and am always interested to hear what is going on with your little one. I am visiting Italy but thanks for teaching me about Holland :)

Em said...

I've read this before .... it is EXACTLY how I've felt with G.

Red Rollerskate said...

Aw, that was so sweet. I still have goosebumps.

raehan said...

That's so sweet.

You know, I've been to both Holland and Italy, and while Italy was very special, my husband and I both truly felt more at home in Holland.

jo(e) said...

That's such a great way to explain it.

Beck said...

Kyla, you're an excellent writer - the last part, where you talk about holding hands at night was just beautiful.