Holland remains the place you want to be. Trust me. You arrived in Holland when you became a special needs Mom. You just didn’t know it at first. The shock of finding yourself there disorients you at first, and then, slowly your world comes back into view. Only now, the world changed.
When my special needs son arrived, my aunt sent me a copy of the Arriving in Holland poem. The shock of giving birth to a special needs son was fresh. Normal left the minute he was born. Yet, at first glance, I felt prepared to arrive in a different land, not Holland. Spain would be great, but Special Needs Land?
I knew not what was in front of us, but I knew that my God had a reason. Special needs takes much more than one person to manage. The Lord called whole family to help. All hands on deck is the protocol for raising a special needs person. Further, God trumpeted a whole army waiting to help us when we need it, even if we cannot see them.
So, while arriving in Holland was quite a shock at first, it became our family’s life journey.
Arriving in Holland
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
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.
No matter where you are in your journey
Whether you just got off the plane in Holland; you have lived and built your home in Holland; or you are leaving. Holland is the best place to be, because God purposed a plan for you to be here. You are even called by Him to live your life in Holland, so relax, see some sights and find the beauty.
Because in the acceptance of the journey comes peace. In a season of rearranging your life and revamping your priorities, you actually find a life—in Holland, I might add. And, it will bring your joy!