Riley and I are at the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome bi-annual conference in Orlando this weekend. I sat in on this session today – Going to Holland. I knew what it was going to be about. I started this journey 12 years ago. At that time it was grim. We were traumatized, we grieved, we were scared, we cried for days, we didn’t know what to expect. As I sat in this session this afternoon, I cried again. I listened to other families stories. They were just like ours. I comforted one of my CdLS sisters that sat next to me listening to her story as she remembered it just a year ago. I comforted her as she cried. I cried with her as I remember that time in my life and it being scary about the unknown. But I have learned a lot since then and I really love Holland now. I am so glad I am here!
If you haven’t read Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley read on….
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
Until next time…..