Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Holland: A New Twist

Long before I had a special needs kid myself, I read Welcome to Holland by Emily Kingsley. The essay landed in my life multiple times. Sometimes it came as an email forward and sometimes it was posted on a friend's blog. I can remember the first time I read it. I thought it was quite brilliant. I love a good metaphor when trying to explain the unexplainable. Though, I have to say, Holland is higher on my "To Visit" list than Italy.

This past week, someone I know referenced this wonderful essay and I looked it up again. Now that I am parenting a special needs child myself, I read it with fresh eyes and more than a few tears. However, on this read through, something struck me that never had before...

It is all well and good to be told you are landing in Holland instead of Italy. It is a plan change for sure, but you go in knowing you are not in Italy. It didn't work that way for us. Instead, the flight attendant didn't bother to tell me we weren't in Italy. For years, my husband and I wandered the streets looking for pasta and gelato. We couldn't find the Vatican no matter how hard we searched.

How confusing, to board a flight to Italy and get off in Holland without anyone informing you of the change. Years passed before we realized with certainty that where we were was not Italy. Slowly, using context clues and advice from the locals, we are learning how to navigate Holland. It is a pretty amazing place if you can find your way around. In my bag, however, is a map of Italy and a book of Italian phrases. It is hard to let go of those things, no matter how many beautiful tulips grow in this new land.

Holland is hard but beautiful. One day, I will be glad we came.


  1. How beautifully put Heather!!!

  2. Thanks Ash. I wish I could feel as beautiful as I can write it.


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