Thursday, February 15, 2007

Holland is amazing!

My parents were both born in Holland and immigrated in 1951, so I'm a bit partial to the Dutch and Dutch traditions and culture. So when I received the following poem when Ryan was born, it was very appropriate. I came across this picture today and thought I'd share both. I've been in "Holland" now for almost 6 years, and I must say it is a beautiful place! It's a place full of body hugs and lots of kisses, of laughter and jokes and giggles, of learning, of appreciating differences, and ultimately, of love.


by Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

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 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.


Anonymous said...


I just read the comment you left on my blog (Marisa's). You are simply amazing!! How are you doing it? How do you keep on keeping on? God bless you. :)


(sorry if this gets posted twice...)

Anonymous said...

Further to your amazing poem, I don't think all the people that are coming and going from Italy really are...I suspect some of them are faking it! I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your 'holland' time, though!

Also, looked at your pictures from Disneyland, and I haven't seen you before with short hair. Now, I know you didn't choose it, but it looks fantastic! You haven't changed a bit in 15 years....except for the better.

Aimee Pianosi

Annette said...

Aimee, thanks for your comments... on Holland and the hair! I must admit, I LOVE my short hair. I do like how it looks, but I also love how easy it is! ((hugs)) to the Pianosi gang!
- Annette

And Marisa, I'm thinking about your questions... and it's leading me to a post (hopefully tonight). I hope you're doing well... and I admire your courage to go bald! I never quite got up the courage to do it completely and I kind of wish I had.