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Welcome to Holland


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.

Emily Perl Kingsley

I first read that essay almost five years ago, back in the days when The Missus and I were still searching for meaning, wondering why we had been given this imperfect gift of a daughter with limitations and physical challenges.

I mean, why us? Why not some other parents? We did everything right. No smoking, no drinking. I took folic acid supplements. She took prenatal vitamins. We made every appointment. We read What To Expect When You’re Expecting. We picked out names. Bought toys and baby outfits.

And still we got a daughter with half her brain destroyed.

Meanwhile, the five-dollar-per-trick crack whore had a relatively healthy baby in the isolette right next to ours. A perfectly beautiful child, whose mother visited not once in the month she was there.

Something in that short little essay, not even four hundred words, resonated with me from the first moment I read it. I could see its parallels not only in fatherhood, but in my own career. It’s an eloquent primer on how to deal with loss and move beyond shattered expectations, a lesson in how disillusionment can blind you to the true value of the gift you’ve been given.

I’ve said before that I believe God gave me a special needs daughter because that’s the challenge I needed to become the man He meant me to be. I only hope that I’m on that path. God knows I stray from it often enough, but I try to keep plodding in the right direction.

And my daughter is my compass.

I’ve heard it many times, people complimenting me on what a good father I am. It honestly never occurred to me to be otherwise. I don’t understand the men who choose not to. I didn’t know if I could actually be a good father, but I meant to try.

Night Lightning Woman reflected on her blog recently on the little victories that replace those conventional milestones when a family is given this great gift of a special child. In it, a woman with a profoundly retarded child said:

“I don’t know why she was born the way she was…but she’s been such a gift. She has taught my whole family so much.”

Babs wrote of the institution she visited as a nursing student, a place where handicapped or retarded children were abandoned by parents oblivious to their gifts, parents who refused to see the beauty of Holland. Babs did, though.

Don Gwinn and his wife took in the twin boys of a troubled family member, boys who were developmentally delayed, and raised them as their own. They make their living teaching special needs children. Ask Don if he’d rather be teaching Honors English to sullen and spoiled teenagers instead.

Firefighter Girl is a single mother, raising a daughter and an autistic son on a paramedic’s salary. Even on Mixman’s bad days, I doubt she’d trade rocking him to the music of Miles Davis for a day in the park with another kid.

All of them have an appreciation for the beauty of Holland.

Tomorrow, I take my daughter to her first day of school. She’ll start pre-K with kids her age, kids without any physical limitations. I’m told that in all likelihood, once she finishes this year, she’ll be able to skip kindergarten and go directly to the first grade.

She’s going to make friends, and she’s going to encounter bullies, and she’ll probably meet a teacher or two who can’t see beyond the brace on her leg to the bright child who happens to wear it. I just hope she finds a few who challenge her mentally like her mother and I challenge her physically.

I think she’s going to take to school like a duck to water. Me, I’m going to try (unsuccessfully) not to cry, and pretend I won’t miss the time I’ll no longer have with her.

It’s okay, though. I’ve come to love it here in Holland, and I’m ready to show off my Rembrandt.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Hammer

    That’s the only way to look at it.All my kids are challenged one way or the other from their biological mothers drug abuse or neglect.We chose to adopt them despite the challenges and we’ve been greatly rewarded.I’m very pleased to hear your daughter is heading to school and friends and normalcy.

  • Hammer

    That’s the only way to look at it.All my kids are challenged one way or the other from their biological mothers drug abuse or neglect.We chose to adopt them despite the challenges and we’ve been greatly rewarded.I’m very pleased to hear your daughter is heading to school and friends and normalcy.

  • Babs RN

    Me, I’m going to try (unsuccessfully) not to cry, and pretend I won’t miss the time I’ll no longer have with her.Some milestones are universal. It’s only the beginning.

  • Babs RN

    Some milestones are universal. It’s only the beginning.

  • AlisonH

    When I was a kid (I’m 48), any kid with any physical or mental disability was shunted aside into a separate school–and as if there were no difference between those two types of disabilities. The rest of us simply never saw them, never interacted with them, they weren’t there. I am so glad those days are long gone, and that my own kids (now in college) got to see kids whose bodies or minds worked differently from their own as being, simply, kids. Like themselves.Your daughter will do better than fine. She’ll be the one the others turn to when they need encouragement.

  • AlisonH

    When I was a kid (I’m 48), any kid with any physical or mental disability was shunted aside into a separate school–and as if there were no difference between those two types of disabilities. The rest of us simply never saw them, never interacted with them, they weren’t there. I am so glad those days are long gone, and that my own kids (now in college) got to see kids whose bodies or minds worked differently from their own as being, simply, kids. Like themselves.Your daughter will do better than fine. She’ll be the one the others turn to when they need encouragement.

  • Jean

    Best wishes to you and your little sweetie.

  • Jean

    Best wishes to you and your little sweetie.

  • Pseudo_Doctor

    If she’s anything like you I’m sure she’ll have no problem introducing herself to the school as Rembrandt.

  • Pseudo_Doctor

    If she’s anything like you I’m sure she’ll have no problem introducing herself to the school as Rembrandt.

  • LL

    Wow, that was a powerful piece.Good luck to your baby in school! I’m sure you’ll do fine too. ;)

  • LL

    Wow, that was a powerful piece.Good luck to your baby in school! I’m sure you’ll do fine too. ;)

  • Ed

    I grew up next door to a girl that suffered from retardation. She went to a “special” school, on a separate bus. Her parents hardly ever let her outside, even in the yard – I used to wonder what it must have been like to be her Parents, with the challenges they faced. They were always pretty secluded as a family – there were only the Mr & Mrs, and the daughter. I wonder if they were in “Holland”.The real challenge, as I see it, will be when she does run into that bully – you’ll probably have some sinister thoughts, I’d imagine….

  • Ed

    I grew up next door to a girl that suffered from retardation. She went to a “special” school, on a separate bus. Her parents hardly ever let her outside, even in the yard – I used to wonder what it must have been like to be her Parents, with the challenges they faced. They were always pretty secluded as a family – there were only the Mr & Mrs, and the daughter. I wonder if they were in “Holland”.The real challenge, as I see it, will be when she does run into that bully – you’ll probably have some sinister thoughts, I’d imagine….

  • William the Coroner

    First day of school is an important milestone. I’m always amazed by the plasticity of young brains–and how fixed old brains are.

  • Scott

    Wow, that is a very good way of looking at it. I especially liked the part about never getting to leave, but having to deal with people who are there all the time.When the docs told me some things would be that way for the rest of my life, at first I was shocked and sad.But you gotta just accept the limitations and move on.I don’t know anything about cerebral palsy, but I’m sure your daughter is going to grow up just fine! After reading your story about a day on the jet ski with her, I see that you are committed to doing all the little things that will help with her motion and stuff.So God gave you her for a reason. If the crack whore had her, what would that child’s life be like? Horrible!

  • William the Coroner

    First day of school is an important milestone. I’m always amazed by the plasticity of young brains–and how fixed old brains are.

  • Scott

    , at first I was shocked and sad.But you gotta just accept the limitations and move on.I don’t know anything about cerebral palsy, but I’m sure your daughter is going to grow up just fine! After reading your story about a day on the jet ski with her, I see that you are committed to doing all the little things that will help with her motion and stuff.So God gave you her for a reason. If the crack whore had her, what would that child’s life be like? Horrible!

  • Joeymom

    Don’t forget the camera! Lots of pictures of that first day of adventure! Best of luck! I still remember the first time we put Joey on teh bus. He was two. Now he talks, writes, and even makes friends! He’s so amazing. Hope she has a wonderful time! Be ready with lots of kisses when she gets home to let you know all about it!!! :) How exciting!

  • Joeymom

    Don’t forget the camera! Lots of pictures of that first day of adventure! Best of luck! I still remember the first time we put Joey on teh bus. He was two. Now he talks, writes, and even makes friends! He’s so amazing. Hope she has a wonderful time! Be ready with lots of kisses when she gets home to let you know all about it!!! :) How exciting!

  • Anonymous

    I read this very same sonnet on this blog via the comments.But, Kate? She is simply amazing.http://ingliseast.typepad.com/ingliseast/Blessed be the parents that are stronger than I could ever be.

  • Anonymous

    I read this very same sonnet on this blog via the comments.But, Kate? She is simply amazing.http://ingliseast.typepad.com/ingliseast/Blessed be the parents that are stronger than I could ever be.

  • Doctor Bee

    I first read “Welcome to Holland” during my developmental pediatrics rotation last year and the grand majority of families I met during that month embraced the words in that story. Good luck to your little one (and you!) as she heads off to school!

  • Doctor Bee

    I first read “Welcome to Holland” during my developmental pediatrics rotation last year and the grand majority of families I met during that month embraced the words in that story. Good luck to your little one (and you!) as she heads off to school!

  • farmgirl

    AD, she’ll do great at school. You just wait, she’s going to come home bubbling over with excitement, and asking you why you didn’t let her go earlier!And look at it this way, you could have my two nephews… (four, and ten months) those two are going to have a ball hurting each other when the Rugrat gets a little bigger. Already one of their favorite games is when the Rugrat stands up with his hands on the side of the playpen, and the Munchkin pushes on Rugrat’s hands, overbalancing Rugrat onto his butt. Baby giggles abound, on that one.

  • farmgirl

    AD, she’ll do great at school. You just wait, she’s going to come home bubbling over with excitement, and asking you why you didn’t let her go earlier!And look at it this way, you could have my two nephews… (four, and ten months) those two are going to have a ball hurting each other when the Rugrat gets a little bigger. Already one of their favorite games is when the Rugrat stands up with his hands on the side of the playpen, and the Munchkin pushes on Rugrat’s hands, overbalancing Rugrat onto his butt. Baby giggles abound, on that one.

  • JeRRTep

    OMG! what a wonderful statement of precious life! You have a lifetime of firsts to experience with your daughter, may you truly enjoy and remember all of them and remember that you are blessed..no matter what!God Bless you both!kT

  • JeRRTep

    OMG! what a wonderful statement of precious life! You have a lifetime of firsts to experience with your daughter, may you truly enjoy and remember all of them and remember that you are blessed..no matter what!God Bless you both!kT

  • Epijunky

    AD,The first day of school is rough. Take a camera, take some tissues, and be prepared to bawl your eyes out. My oldest will be going into second grade and I’m sure I’ll cry again next week when I walk him to class.They’re our babies. As Babs said, some things our universal.

  • Epijunky

    AD,The first day of school is rough. Take a camera, take some tissues, and be prepared to bawl your eyes out. My oldest will be going into second grade and I’m sure I’ll cry again next week when I walk him to class.They’re our babies. As Babs said, some things our universal.

  • Anonymous

    I believe that the Lord Jesus uses suffering to teach us about grace. When I dwell too long on chronic pain, arthritis and damaged disks, I have to recall what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians:Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.Wall

  • Anonymous

    I believe that the Lord Jesus uses suffering to teach us about grace. When I dwell too long on chronic pain, arthritis and damaged disks, I have to recall what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians:Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.Wall

  • Brandon

    That’s a great way of looking at it. Best of luck to your daughter as she starts school.

  • Brandon

    That’s a great way of looking at it. Best of luck to your daughter as she starts school.

  • phlegmfatale

    Such a wonderful father as you would have to have a fabulous kid, no matter the destination. I hope she’s loving the stuffing out of her new school experience, and I hope you are able to find peace with this adjustment to your lives.

  • phlegmfatale

    Such a wonderful father as you would have to have a fabulous kid, no matter the destination. I hope she’s loving the stuffing out of her new school experience, and I hope you are able to find peace with this adjustment to your lives.

  • Farmmom

    Thank you for giving me a smile today.

  • Farmmom

    Thank you for giving me a smile today.

  • John

    Pure Characther, Pure Class, Pure Love.You, & God will do just fine. Kate will blow by both of you with a joy unspeakable, a mind unfillabled and a laugh unforgettable!!od Bless you all the more AD,John

  • John

    Pure Characther, Pure Class, Pure Love.You, & God will do just fine. Kate will blow by both of you with a joy unspeakable, a mind unfillabled and a laugh unforgettable!!od Bless you all the more AD,John

  • Kiki B.

    Fast forward 20-25 years. Here we see AD trying(unsuccessfully) not to cry as he walks his daughter, the most beautiful bride in the world, down the aisle on her wedding day, and hands her off to her groom anxiously awaiting the privilege of making Katy his bride. Of course, I’m sure he will have given the groom no end of warning about taking good care of his girl, or else. :-)P.S. Wall, I have lived and cried those verses so many times over, it isn’t funny. God bless you, Hon, as you deal with your situation.

  • Kiki B.

    Fast forward 20-25 years. Here we see AD trying(unsuccessfully) not to cry as he walks his daughter, the most beautiful bride in the world, down the aisle on her wedding day, and hands her off to her groom anxiously awaiting the privilege of making Katy his bride. Of course, I’m sure he will have given the groom no end of warning about taking good care of his girl, or else. :-)P.S. Wall, I have lived and cried those verses so many times over, it isn’t funny. God bless you, Hon, as you deal with your situation.

  • Jay G

    Another excellent piece, AD.Two weeks from tomorrow, I’ll be putting my son on the bus for his first day of First Grade. The big leagues. All day. A week later, my daughter will be starting her second year of pre-school (you can send them at age 3 up here). I try not to blink all that much, because I’m afraid I’ll miss something…

  • Jay G

    Another excellent piece, AD.Two weeks from tomorrow, I’ll be putting my son on the bus for his first day of First Grade. The big leagues. All day. A week later, my daughter will be starting her second year of pre-school (you can send them at age 3 up here). I try not to blink all that much, because I’m afraid I’ll miss something…

  • Fran

    Great piece AD! Take pictures and take it all in because this is a memory you will carry throughout your life. Good Luck Katie!Be sure and let us know how it went!Fran

  • Fran

    Great piece AD! Take pictures and take it all in because this is a memory you will carry throughout your life. Good Luck Katie!Be sure and let us know how it went!Fran

  • Christina

    Did you HAVE to make me cry first thing in the morning? :)You and your daughter are inspirations to all of us.

  • Christina

    Did you HAVE to make me cry first thing in the morning? :)You and your daughter are inspirations to all of us.

  • bigdaddyb

    I feel ya bro!Nice to hear from someone else ‘in Holland’. I’m proud of my ‘Rembrandt’ too!brianFather of Nathan a bright young fellow who doesn’t consider Asperger’s and Tourettes to be something he should give much thought to.

  • bigdaddyb

    I feel ya bro!Nice to hear from someone else ‘in Holland’. I’m proud of my ‘Rembrandt’ too!brianFather of Nathan a bright young fellow who doesn’t consider Asperger’s and Tourettes to be something he should give much thought to.

  • Yenner

    That is such a special story. One of the ladies that I used to work with had a daughter that got pregnant and she and her husband were so excited because it was their first child together. (She had a son from a previous marriage) Within the 2nd tri-mester they found out that the baby had hydrocephalus. They were devastated. They went through all of the tests to see if anything could be done invitro but the doctor’s said no. They told her that it was so bad that she probably wouldn’t live longer than about 6 months. They went home and a friend showed her the story of Holland. It touched them and moved them so much that they decided to name the baby Holland. She is now almost 5 years old. She is behind developmentally and they have had their fair share of surgeries and scares but is the sweetest child there every was. She attends day care and learns new things daily. I think that story was the best thing anyone could have ever written. I think that your daughter is very lucky. Like someone up above said, if the crack whore had her, her life would have been horrible so she was given to you for a reason.

  • Yenner

    That is such a special story. One of the ladies that I used to work with had a daughter that got pregnant and she and her husband were so excited because it was their first child together. (She had a son from a previous marriage) Within the 2nd tri-mester they found out that the baby had hydrocephalus. They were devastated. They went through all of the tests to see if anything could be done invitro but the doctor’s said no. They told her that it was so bad that she probably wouldn’t live longer than about 6 months. They went home and a friend showed her the story of Holland. It touched them and moved them so much that they decided to name the baby Holland. She is now almost 5 years old. She is behind developmentally and they have had their fair share of surgeries and scares but is the sweetest child there every was. She attends day care and learns new things daily. I think that story was the best thing anyone could have ever written. I think that your daughter is very lucky. Like someone up above said, if the crack whore had her, her life would have been horrible so she was given to you for a reason.

  • skywriter

    That was one of the most beautiful pieces you’ve written. My folks had a baby that was born WAY too early, and Marsha fought for weeks before she died. During that time, they both praised God for the blessing and the chance, and likely, probably silently, blamed God for the tragedy they knew was looming. . .But in time they realized that the same God that gave the uncaring parent a perfect child, gave them the soul that he knew only they could properly care for, the perfect match for an angel who, if they had any chance to breathe in some blessed moments of life, it would be with them. So instead of ranting against fate, they clasped their hands in confused and melencholy prayer. He wrote death on Marsha’s heart, just as he wrote life, and in those days they had together, whether it was 30 years or 30 days, they were left with the extraordinary perfect communion between parent and child. And each day they learned to thank God for that little baby, who might fail tomorrow, but didn’t fail today.

  • skywriter

    That was one of the most beautiful pieces you’ve written. My folks had a baby that was born WAY too early, and Marsha fought for weeks before she died. During that time, they both praised God for the blessing and the chance, and likely, probably silently, blamed God for the tragedy they knew was looming. . .But in time they realized that the same God that gave the uncaring parent a perfect child, gave them the soul that he knew only they could properly care for, the perfect match for an angel who, if they had any chance to breathe in some blessed moments of life, it would be with them. So instead of ranting against fate, they clasped their hands in confused and melencholy prayer. He wrote death on Marsha’s heart, just as he wrote life, and in those days they had together, whether it was 30 years or 30 days, they were left with the extraordinary perfect communion between parent and child. And each day they learned to thank God for that little baby, who might fail tomorrow, but didn’t fail today.

  • Amanda

    Best wishes on the first day of school, AD :)My younger son starts kindergarten next fall. I’m no longer the mother of little boys… I’m the mother of young boys.Weird.

  • Amanda

    Best wishes on the first day of school, AD :)My younger son starts kindergarten next fall. I’m no longer the mother of little boys… I’m the mother of young boys.Weird.

  • Queen of Dysfunction

    This is an awesome post. And it sounds like you are a terrific father.As a teen I worked on a horse ranch (mucking stalls, nothing special) with kids who rode the horses to practice for Special Olympics and one of the things we all heard from visitors on a consistent basis was how normal the Down’s kids were. As if they had expected something subhuman.

  • Queen of Dysfunction

    the Down’s kids were. As if they had expected something subhuman.

  • Kate

    How wonderful when those milestones in your child’s life occur!I know you’ll hold each moment of the day close to your heart and write those memories down so you’ll never forget them.Take lots of tissues stuffed in your pockets and be prepared to listen to all the joys of her new life adventures!

  • Kate

    How wonderful when those milestones in your child’s life occur!I know you’ll hold each moment of the day close to your heart and write those memories down so you’ll never forget them.Take lots of tissues stuffed in your pockets and be prepared to listen to all the joys of her new life adventures!

  • knitalot3

    It so tough being brave as a parent!! My son can’t read. He is a whiz at math. He taught himself to skate, skateboard, and ride a bike with no sweat. He can’t read. The letters and sounds and words make no sense whatsoever to him. It hurts to watch him struggle. I send the best of luck to your daughter. I’m sure she will do well. Hugs to you too!

  • knitalot3

    It so tough being brave as a parent!! My son can’t read. He is a whiz at math. He taught himself to skate, skateboard, and ride a bike with no sweat. He can’t read. The letters and sounds and words make no sense whatsoever to him. It hurts to watch him struggle. I send the best of luck to your daughter. I’m sure she will do well. Hugs to you too!

  • Cliff

    I have two wonderful daughters. They will never have children because of a brutal rape, the other because of a congenital condition. Both are married to wonderful men who love them for who they are. They both would be wonderful mothers. I get so p****ed at welfare baby factories. Life is what it is. So it goes.

  • Cliff

    I have two wonderful daughters. They will never have children because of a brutal rape, the other because of a congenital condition. Both are married to wonderful men who love them for who they are. They both would be wonderful mothers. I get so p****ed at welfare baby factories. Life is what it is. So it goes.

  • Tigers Fan

    As always, thanks for a great piece of writing AD. Enjoy the moment now. Far sooner than you can realize, Katy will be a college freshman, and you’ll be asking and saying to yourself “How is this possible? I’m too young to be the father of a college freshman!”That’s approximately where I am now, as my youngest daughter starts LSU in a few weeks. It still seems like a dream that they (and I) have come so far already. So as others have already said, take lots of pictures and blog about your and Katy’s experiences. You’ll be glad you did, and we as your readers will be richer for sharing stories that only you can tell.

  • Tigers Fan

    As always, thanks for a great piece of writing AD. Enjoy the moment now. Far sooner than you can realize, Katy will be a college freshman, and you’ll be asking and saying to yourself “How is this possible? I’m too young to be the father of a college freshman!”That’s approximately where I am now, as my youngest daughter starts LSU in a few weeks. It still seems like a dream that they (and I) have come so far already. So as others have already said, take lots of pictures and blog about your and Katy’s experiences. You’ll be glad you did, and we as your readers will be richer for sharing stories that only you can tell.

  • mielikki

    My sister has a child with Downs Syndrome, and got this “Welcome to Holland” not soon after he was born. We wouldn’t trade him for anything.

  • mielikki

    My sister has a child with Downs Syndrome, and got this “Welcome to Holland” not soon after he was born. We wouldn’t trade him for anything.

  • Sueblimely

    14 years ago I was desperately trying to leave Holland, wishing I had not brought my 3 year old child, who suffers from Fragile X syndrome, with me. Gradually I stopped fighting and began to make the best of the place.Today my son age 17 is doing his school ‘deb ball’ – all dressed up in formal suit. He will be arriving at the venue with his partner and 6 other of his special school friends in a stretched white limo.The pride and love I feel for him is so intense. I am so pleased that I ‘went to Holland’. The trip has not been easy but I am now thoroughly enjoying the journey.

  • Sueblimely

    14 years ago I was desperately trying to leave Holland, wishing I had not brought my 3 year old child, who suffers from Fragile X syndrome, with me. Gradually I stopped fighting and began to make the best of the place.Today my son age 17 is doing his school ‘deb ball’ – all dressed up in formal suit. He will be arriving at the venue with his partner and 6 other of his special school friends in a stretched white limo.The pride and love I feel for him is so intense. I am so pleased that I ‘went to Holland’. The trip has not been easy but I am now thoroughly enjoying the journey.

  • Don Gwinn

    Skywriter, AD didn’t write the Holland essay–it’s been passed around by people who needed it for a long time now. AD, you’re right, she’ll be great. And I’ve taught regular English and History sections, and you’re right. It’s not a better day. It’s just different.One of my professors read the Holland essay to us a long time ago. I thought then it was maddening how well she expressed such an elusive idea.This will all sound to many who haven’t been there like we’re just trying to rationalize pain. Sour grapes, you know. “Well, my kid’s special, and who wants to be like everyone else, anyway!”You and I know that’s not it.

  • Don Gwinn

    Skywriter, AD didn’t write the Holland essay–it’s been passed around by people who needed it for a long time now. AD, you’re right, she’ll be great. And I’ve taught regular English and History sections, and you’re right. It’s not a better day. It’s just different.One of my professors read the Holland essay to us a long time ago. I thought then it was maddening how well she expressed such an elusive idea.This will all sound to many who haven’t been there like we’re just trying to rationalize pain. Sour grapes, you know. “Well, my kid’s special, and who wants to be like everyone else, anyway!”You and I know that’s not it.

  • Anonymous

    AD, I live in Holland. I am Autistic.You neurotypical folks can have Italy with the noise and hub bub and traffic.Holland is fine. Lovely place really. Time is a great equalizer. In time your daughter will find her place in Holland and may even take a trip to Italy. She may decide to live there. With a good father to guide her I am sure she do well in Holland or Italy.I would love to sit around and whinge about how I am missing Italy, but I must get to bed. I have a big auction to run tomorrow. The residents of Holland stay busy.~Sarah

  • Anonymous

    AD, I live in Holland. I am Autistic.You neurotypical folks can have Italy with the noise and hub bub and traffic.Holland is fine. Lovely place really. Time is a great equalizer. In time your daughter will find her place in Holland and may even take a trip to Italy. She may decide to live there. With a good father to guide her I am sure she do well in Holland or Italy.I would love to sit around and whinge about how I am missing Italy, but I must get to bed. I have a big auction to run tomorrow. The residents of Holland stay busy.~Sarah

  • Stacey

    You know, I read your page because it’s amusing and interesting and hopeful. As a mom to a little girl named Katie who also has CP, I need those things, so I can learn to appreciate Holland with my baby girl just as much as I appreciate Italy with my boys – the hard part is being in Italy and Holland at the same time!But I know. God gave us Holland because he knew we would strive for her, protect her and love every moment of our experiences with her. Holland needed our family and our family needed Holland. And it’s a beautiful place.

  • Stacey

    You know, I read your page because it’s amusing and interesting and hopeful. As a mom to a little girl named Katie who also has CP, I need those things, so I can learn to appreciate Holland with my baby girl just as much as I appreciate Italy with my boys – the hard part is being in Italy and Holland at the same time!But I know. God gave us Holland because he knew we would strive for her, protect her and love every moment of our experiences with her. Holland needed our family and our family needed Holland. And it’s a beautiful place.

  • Wanderer

    Having just been dealing with the first anniversary of our daughter’s death (she was a preemie) this post hit me deep. In fact, it made my wife cry. We both would’ve traded anything to be in Holland, instead we got diverted and the rest of the flight was canceled you don’t mind me lifting a small section of the Holland story and referencing your post in a story about my girl. Best of luck with your’s first day! Peace and love…

  • Wanderer

    Having just been dealing with the first anniversary of our daughter’s death (she was a preemie) this post hit me deep. In fact, it made my wife cry. We both would’ve traded anything to be in Holland, instead we got diverted and the rest of the flight was canceled you don’t mind me lifting a small section of the Holland story and referencing your post in a story about my girl. Best of luck with your’s first day! Peace and love…

  • artillerywifecq

    I am a long time reader but recently was lead into your archives by Lost on the Floor’s post about the loss of their child. Your post is most excellently written and touching. I think my attitude and thoughts about special needs kids and all babies will be forever changed. I sincerely mean that. Holland is not such a bad place to live.

  • artillerywifecq

    I am a long time reader but recently was lead into your archives by Lost on the Floor’s post about the loss of their child. Your post is most excellently written and touching. I think my attitude and thoughts about special needs kids and all babies will be forever changed. I sincerely mean that. Holland is not such a bad place to live.

  • artillerywifecq

    I am a long time reader but recently was lead into your archives by Lost on the Floor’s post about the loss of their child. Your post is most excellently written and touching. I think my attitude and thoughts about special needs kids and all babies will be forever changed. I sincerely mean that. Holland is not such a bad place to live.

  • artillerywifecq

    I am a long time reader but recently was lead into your archives by Lost on the Floor’s post about the loss of their child. Your post is most excellently written and touching. I think my attitude and thoughts about special needs kids and all babies will be forever changed. I sincerely mean that. Holland is not such a bad place to live.