Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

Guess who had a birthday around our house this week???

In honor of this milestone, I thought I would share a poem that has meant so much to our family, along with the pictures. It was shared with us soon after we had Miss Brenna. Enjoy!

Welcome To Holland
Emily Perl Kingsley

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.


  1. ***
    full of Light

    just a few words that come to mind ...

    Happy Happy Sweet Sixteen to your precious girl/gift from God
    sniff sniff

    All Love to you and your dear family all ways Lynn

  2. I'm all choked up Lynn. That is beautiful! I hope Brenna loved her birthday!!!

  3. Oh my goodness, that is so lovley. It broght a tears to my eyes.
    I hope Brenna had a wonderful birthday. Those pictures are wonderful... Thanks for sharing them with us.. Hugs, Linda

  4. Thank you, precious Lynn. I heard this years ago when I taught special education but tonight when I read it, it meant something so much deeper. I think it is because I feel your tender heart when I read it and know you have lived "Holland" with such love and dignity.
    ((((((((HUGS)))))))) to you all!

  5. Ah, but stop and remember.. they'll have their flashy amazing holiday in Italy, but 6 months after they get home the amazing will be forgotten and life will return to a drudgery ... BUT you, on the other hand will have your holiday in Holland forever!!

    I say you are by far more lucky than the others :))

  6. What a beautiful, heartfelt post. Hope Brenna had a wonderful birthday. You are so blessed to have her. LOVE your blog!

  7. Amazing. And can I say that Brenna's shirt is perfect?! She is full of sunshine and overflowing with love.

  8. I love this. I really, really, love this. It doesn't happen very often, but it leaves me with absolutely no comment worthy of return.

    I love the birthday "postcards" from Holland. Happy Birthday to your sweet sixteen.

  9. I can not begin to tell you how much your words have touched me this morning. God sends special people to special parents. I see that with my brother in law as well as your sweet sixteen beautiful baby girl. I feel so very happy and blessed that I've had the chance to get to know you and your family thru blog land. Brenna is such a lucky girl to have you as her mom!! May God bless you all always. XOXOXOXO

    ~ Wendy

  10. OMG Lynne,
    I'm crying from the sweetness & purity of this beautiful message & the pictures of Brenna's Sweet Sixteen. As Homer said...The Journey is the Thing. It's not where we actually end up on our trip, it's the magic of having taken the trip at all. The surprises, the unexpected joys, the beauty that can be found in the most unlikey of places. I loved this post friend & want to hug you & Brenna & wish her the Happiest of Birthdays!!

  11. You have me in tears...

    You know something? Holland is gorgeous!

    I've knocked down my lap top and now I'm using P's or my daughter's whenever they're available. I'm cut off from everybody. I'm now waiting to see if it can be fixed or at least save what was stored in my hard disc.

    what kind of cake did you bake?

  12. What a wonderful post. Shared from a perspective many of us do not know. Parents that have hopes and dreams for their children, just like other parents would, and a few special more.
    Love to you,