Mystery Lane

Mystery Lane

Thursday, December 12, 2013


There is an analogy that a woman named Emily Pearl Kingsley wrote about becoming a special needs parent called “Welcome to Holland” (I posted it on the blog a couple of years ago).  It’s about how you believe your journey as a parent is going to be like going to Italy.  Then you have your child and realize you aren’t going to Italy.  Instead you are diverted to Holland.  At first Holland doesn’t seem as great as Italy.  And while everyone else is going to Italy, you are stuck in Holland.  Slowly you realize that Holland isn’t so bad and has a beauty that others don’t see.  The other day I came across a follow up to “Welcome to Holland” called “Celebrating Holland – I’m Home”.  It’s written by a mom who has been in Holland for a while.  No matter how hard our journey is when we have special needs kids, I think most of us are able to get to a place where we realize that we no longer wish for Italy.  That as far as we are concerned, Italy is overrated.  The most beautiful country is indeed Holland.  Holland is where the action is!  Holland has a love like none other.  Holland is the hardest, most rewarding school where lessons are taught that we had no idea about.  Holland is beautiful.  I love Holland and the beautiful little boy named Jackson who took me there.    

Celebrating Holland- I'm Home
By Cathy Anthony
(my follow-up to the original “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Pearl Kingsley)


I have been in Holland for over a decade now. It has become home. I have had time to catch my breath, to settle and adjust, to accept something different than I'd planned. I reflect back on those years of past when I had first landed in Holland. I remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger, the pain and uncertainty. In those first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey. I have learned so much more. But, this too has been a journey of time.

I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. I learned a new language and I slowly found my way around this new land. I have met others whose plans had changed like mine, and who could share my experience. We supported one another and some have become very special friends.
Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me. Many have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land. I have discovered a community of caring. Holland wasn't so bad.

I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and grew to become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, to assist and to support newcomers like me in this new land. Over the years, I've wondered what life would have been like if I'd landed in Italy as planned. Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned some of the important lessons I hold today?

Sure, this journey has been more challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest. And, yes, Holland is slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but this too has been an unexpected gift. I have learned to slow down in ways too and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland with its tulips, windmills and Rembrandts.

I have come to love Holland and call it Home.

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!


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