The windmills of our minds…

Today has been a day of frustrations, of tantrums, of being stone-walled, screamed at, scratched, kicked and punched.

Our little cat has been more rabid tiger than cutesy kitten today; and I am absolutely worn out, both physically and mentally.

Just when I was about to go and kick the shed, a piece of writing that I read several years ago came into my head. It was written, originally, to describe the writer’s emotions on having a child with Down Syndrome, but it resonates just as well with any parent who has a child who is different. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, and expresses perfectly how a parent first feels when they are faced with the fact that life has to change.

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 guidebooks 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 some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. 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, 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.”

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a 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.

by Emily Perl Kingsley


The boys monkeying about at the top of Ben A’an, The Trossachs


5 thoughts on “The windmills of our minds…

  1. Clare Holland says:

    Holland is beautiful Jac. One glance at me confirms that 🙂

  2. alythmum says:

    I do think there can almost be a period of grief as you comes to terms with the possible differences between what you dreamed for your newborn and what you think may happen now. However as time goes on you realise that the dreams for the future are still there but just they are different ones from your original ones.

    The trick to remember is that as any child grows their future changes whether it is because they follow an idea that didn’t even exist when they were born or because things change from what you thought might be.

    He is still your lovely (tired) handful and deep down you wouldn’t change him … least not when he is lying fast asleep all angel-like in his bed. 🙂

  3. purppuraq says:

    Some people never get to take that trip at all. I wish you strength on yours, not easy at all I’m sure *hugs*

  4. Heather says:

    Beautiful pic, beautiful boys, beautiful you. Hugs to you babe. I have absolutely every faith that you will not only cope with this but that you’ll thrive – all of you. xx

  5. Helen says:

    A journey of this type is probably going to happen for all parents, anyway. They may get their angelic perfect kids to teenage and then watch them stop working at school, flunk all their exams or ‘get in with the wrong crowd’ … They may have the horrors of drink and drugs take away the most cherished parts of their children’s personalities – like trust and respect and consideration for others ….
    Of course our little ones may do all that too . they haven’t held back so far! – but at least we are used to our dreams for our children not necessarily being anything like the realism of them … their personalities, their interests, hopes and dreams.
    Our kids are already very much individuals rather than robotic reflections of our decisions …. and that has to make life easier for the future – doesn’t it?

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