Welcome to Holland - Profound stuff - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2006, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Welcome to Holland - Profound stuff

I was told this by my mentor, and subsequently found it online. I am wanting to base one of my final essays on this as it is so profound and wondered what you guys thought of it...

It describes what it is like for parents who have a child with disability.

-----------------------------------

Welcome to Holland

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, clothes and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. 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, new clothes. 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.

© Emily Perl Kingsley 1987

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2006, 11:21 AM
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Oh, I have tears in my eyes. How lovely.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2006, 11:32 AM
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Hayley, I have read this essay in an article on mothers of disabled children. One of the mothers commented on this piece and her connection with the feelings expressed. The idea that the family ends up in a different place, but one that is still full of beauty if they are willing to notice, is very powerful.

I think it would make a very good choice for your essay.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2006, 11:50 AM
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That is very beautiful! It definitley would make a good choice, Hayley.

*~*~*Megan*~*~
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2006, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone I hope to back it up with research and look into how families cope when a child is diagnosed as having either a disability or chronic illness... Hope it fits ok!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2006, 12:35 PM
 
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I have a friend from Holland. I met her while working in Carrolton, KY at Camp Kysoc. She now lives in her own country and continues working with children with disabilities. She still writes me e-mails on how her work unfolds there.
While at camp, I had the most incredible time - there are a ton of responsibilities but it is so rewarding in the end. I was in charge of the Farm and Garden section and was showing them how to plant flowers and bottle feed our baby cow, etc. They were ecstatic to have Buddy's (the goat) tongue tickling their hand while they fed him. They seemed to enjoy simple things in life more so than the average person. And it seems only right to enjoy them that much.
I will never forget that time in my life. A lot of good things came out of it - spiritually - for me.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2006, 02:42 PM
 
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I love that piece. I have read it before, we have several children with disabilities in our program, and it makes me cry every time. It is very true, and beautifully written.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2006, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ioana
They were ecstatic to have Buddy's (the goat) tongue tickling their hand while they fed him. They seemed to enjoy simple things in life more so than the average person. And it seems only right to enjoy them that much.
I love doing sensory work with the children I work with! I am fortunate enough to have worked with many children all across the city through my agency work and nurse training and although they are all unique, very few dislike it.

One girl who I no longer work with but still talk to regularly through text/email loves her vibrating doggy slippers and a good head massage when she has her hair washed. Her disability is literally just physical... She studies politics, sociology and psychology at my Uni

We took another group I worked with during the summer to the Butterfly World nearby where the staff let various creepy crawlies climb over the children's hands. The place was full of giggles as the legs of various bugs tickled their hands.

The possibilities are endless!
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