Thursday, January 15, 2009

A poem, and a thought for the day...

We have been given this poem several times by different people in our lives since Alayna's birth. The author is a parent of a child with down syndrome . We thought it would be a great thing to share with you. Enjoy.

Welcome to Holland by Emily Pearl 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.

Our family is loving being in Holland, we hope if you haven't already met our wonderful daughter that you will put on your clogs, come smell the tulips and take in this blessing. She is one in a million and has blessed our lives in so many ways that I can't begin to describe on this blog. Her sweet smile lights up a room and melts your heart!


Elise said...

I want to go to Holland too!

Thank you for posting this lovely poem.

Love the video!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. Alayna is absolutely gorgeous, and Aiden has grown so fast, handsome young man.I loved the video. God knew what He was doing when He brought Alayna into such a loving and nurturing family. I will continue to keep all of you in my prayers and hope someday to meet your children.
Jean Thoreson

Anonymous said...

I love Holland. I was in Holland (Michigan) last summer. I bought a new pair of clogs there, so I look and feel like a native. I'm certain we live just down the street from you in Holland. So not what we planned for, but still good.

Thanks for sharing the poem ... and the rest of you, too.