August 31, 2008


I was on a special friends blog today and came across this great story written by Emily Perl Kingsley back in 1987.  Its about life and what its like living with a disabled child.  I thought it beautify written and wanted to share!  Funny thing is that she was living this story out in 1987, the very year I graduated from High School with my whole life ahead of me and little did I know that 19 years later, I too would completely identify with her words!

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, etc.  You may even 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."  She replies, "but there's been a change in the flight plan and 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 now you must go out and buy new guide books. You must learn a whole new language and you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met in Italy.   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 its own 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, so 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 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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