Welcome to Holland


Have you ever read “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kigsley?

I love this poem, it describes what autism feels for a parent and also it encourage parents.  If you never read it, this is the poem:

Welcome to Holland

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.

©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley.  All rights reserved.

Yep, that happened to me, I was in Holland for 3 years; then my other two kids came and I got my trip to Italy.

But it feels like I go to Italy without Sophie, she stays in Holland… it’s like I live between Holland and Italy.

I do like Holland, I enjoy the tulips and windmills, but I’ll lie if I tell you I’m fine staying there forever.

Thru the good days and the bad days I have had this last month working with the Son-rise program, one thing I know:  I WILL NEVER GIVE UP, I WILL GO TO ITALY WITH HER, I’ll enjoy tulips, windmills and Rembrandts, but I will hatch our way out, I’ll wait for the green lights, I’ll build, I’ll dialogue my self, I’ll join, I’ll be big and in the end WE WILL GO TO ITALY!


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