Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 for 21 -- What's wrong with Holland? -- Day #13

Did we get on the wrong plane?

I don't think so...

Holland is lovely, isn't it? (Stay with me here...)

Oh, yes, even Luke is in on it...

I don't know about you, but it looks like John Michael is perfectly happy being in "Holland"!

Many people who have a child with special needs are familiar with the 1987 Emily Perl Kingsley Poem, Welcome to Holland.

You can click on the link, or do a quick Google search, but the idea is that having a baby is like planning a vacation. You plan your trip to an exciting place like Italy, but when you arrive, you find out you actually landed in Holland. You're shocked.  It's not where you planned to be, but after a while, you begin to notice the beautiful things of Holland, such as the windmills, tulips and Rembrandts.

Personally, I love Holland.  My mother-in-law is from Holland and her family still lives there.  (John Michael and Luke just got their new shirts from Oma who just got back from Holland earlier this week!)

The poem speaks to many new parents.  You plan to have the "perfect" baby, but then you find out your baby isn't what you were expecting.  Some moms, like me, however, don't embrace the poem. 

First, I want to say, what's wrong with Holland?  It's gorgeous!  My friend, Lisa, Sheridan's mom, would argue that she's still in Italy, and in a way, I agree with that, too.  But in the poem, there's a line that I just can't relate to...

"And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss."

For me, I disagree about the pain "never, ever, ever, ever go[ing] away"...  Yes, John Michael has Down syndrome, but I don't go around wishing he were someone different.  He is who he is and who he is meant to be.  As soon as we realize that, and stop dreaming of what might have been (because he never was without that extra chromosome), then we can move ahead and live in the present.  It's not so easy for some parents, and I don't mean to trivialize their journey...  For me, though, I never felt like I got off the wrong plane in the first place...  If that means we ended up in Holland, then so be it... I guess it's where we were meant to be...


  1. I understand in the Poem, that it just mean that you are in pain if you don´t start to look around in Holland and start to enjoy Holland , because you did not expect to be there and you never have been there before, you asumed Holland is not a very lovely place because you never thought about Holland before...
    I had a nice peek into Holland before but I never thought this is where I want to go to stay, before my son was born...
    (I hope you understand what I mean... in my english...)
    Christine & Joshua

  2. Wenn du Deutsch lesen kannst, vielleicht magst du meine Fortsetzungsgeschichte zu dem Gedicht lesen?
    Liebe Grüße
    Christine & Joshua

  3. Hi Monica, I love this post. I wrote a similar thought about this poem awhile back. I received so many commments on it that I made a seperate blog for just that one post. Even now I see that many of my visitors end up at my blog because of their search for the poem. I hope they get a different perspective after reading it! (
    Thanks for posting these thoughts and espectially your pictures! I love it, I love it!
    JM is soooooo CUTE CUTE CUTE