Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Welcome to Holland- a must read for EVERY parent

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting another mom with a special needs child.  Her child doesn't have ichthyosis, but his is more a cognitive, emotional, and mental disorder.  I found myself amazed at the strength of this woman, listening to her story.  I was sitting there asking myself the question that I have had many people ask me, "How does she find the strength to do it all".  Then I remembered a short essay that one of Ashlynne's physical therapists gave me when she was just a baby called "Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley, and it reminded me of how we, moms of special needs children, do it.

I mentioned to her this essay, and she said she carries it with her every day, and told me that there is now a 2nd part that someone has added to it.  So, of course, I googled it.  I felt as if someone had reached inside of my head and plucked the thoughts right out of it to write this.  It was amazing to me how much someone who had never even met me could sum up my feelings, my life, in such a few, short paragraphs.

To sum it up, it parallels parenting of a special needs child with a planned dream vacation.  Your whole life (your pregnancy) you have planned this dream trip to Italy (said trip being raising your child).  Then, when your plane lands, and you think you're in Italy, all of a sudden they announce you have landed in Holland (Holland representing the parenting journey of a child with special needs), where you will stay.  And it is not at all what you planned.  But when you stop and look around, you realize the beauty there.
"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."

The 2nd part discusses, as time passes, how the author has come to accept Holland as home.  I would never change my home in Holland for anything in the world.  I have met some of the most amazing people in my life because of this journey.  Relationships that I could never replace.  Relationships that I hope are as beneficial to the others as they are to me.  I never envisioned my days to be full of Aquaphor, and hours of bathing and lotioning, and multiple doctors appointments, and physical therapy sessions.  But I also, never could have envisioned, how much I would love this little person that depends on me.

2 of my travel guides through my own, personal, Holland
"I have become a world traveler and discovered that it doesn't matter where you land. What's more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special, the very lovely, things that Holland, or any land, has to offer.
Yes, over a decade ago I landed in a place I hadn't planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!"

To any of my friends that are struggling with raising kids, I want to say this:  I have 3 other children, and while rewarding as well, I can't say that I landed in Italy with any of them.  Parenting is hard,  Very hard.  It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  It is full of poopy diapers, vomit, sleepless nights, meltdowns, and fights.  However, it isn't without great joy.  I think at any given time, any parent may feel like they've landed themselves right, smack dab, in the middle of Holland.  So I recommend these essays to any parent.  And just remember, you're never alone in this journey.  Whether it's a child with physical disabilities, emotional/mental disabilities, or a typical kid, you're going to struggle.  But stop and embrace your own personal Holland.  God gave it to you for a reason.


  1. Well said honey. You are a great Mom.

  2. Beautiful, loving, and inspiring, Cora.

  3. I don't know if that last comment I said posted but what I said was I just showed the dance blog that you wrote to my mom today, I love reading these and I love the Holland story

  4. It’s the best source of information, I really love this post! Keep up the good work. Kids Ride Wild Site


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