Welcome to Holland

A friend of ours passed on this inspiring poem by Emily Perl Kingsley circa 1987. It’s called “Welcome to Holland” and chronicles the journey of a parent raising a child with a disability.

Now I won’t lie, this one can be a bit of a tear jerker so be ready for it, but it ends on a positive and upbeat note. Great reminder to not dwell on the negatives. It’s also applicable to most any adversity in life in my opinion.

Stick with it, I think you’ll be glad you did…

Here’s the full text.

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12 thoughts on “Welcome to Holland

  1. Pamela Gustafson

    Things I’ve learned from my “special” children
    some common sense rules need to be modified – yes, you can have food in your room as long as you keep it in a sealed package, admitting you broke the window when your standing in the driveway with the glove on your and the baseball at my feet is not nearly as important as figuring out how to make up for the mistake together, everyone makes mistakes its not the end of the world, hoarding & lying are sometimes survival skills and when learned at a young age hard to break. It is tough when the world doesn’t understand that things are “different” at your house because they have to be, but the joy of progress more than makes up for it. That can of pineapple on a dresser with dust on it is a triumph, no longer shrinking back and staring at the floor when discussing how to correct a mistake is beyond words
    sorry this is so long and won’t make sense to many but my dear Mark you have inspired me
    after all these years thought I had a good handle on moving through the world with my different family but guess I am still a little frayed around the edges
    We planned for Italy and got Holland, I LOVE HOLLAND!!!!!! Welcome, we are relieved to have such a wonderful family join us.

  2. Mark Isham Post author

    Pammy, you are awesome. I know that must have been painful to write, but I feel like I just flashed through the last 20 years of your life. You and Frank are among two of the best parents I’ve ever known, and what you’ve given to your children has been something I’ve always deeply admired. You’ve given them a far greater life than was ever possible before, and yet always remained upbeat and positive the entire way. I couldn’t imagine two better role models for Eliza and myself.

    Thank you for sharing, that meant a lot.

  3. Aunt Florence

    Great words of wisdom Pam and Mark. I remember twenty years ago Pam saying we are so lucky to have four kids. And I responded, no the kids are lucky to have you and Fran. You have done wonderous and marvelous things we all of your Hollands Pam and Frank. Mark and Eliza you trip to Holland has just begun but I know you are both well prepared for it. Love you guys. AF and UL

    1. Mark Isham Post author

      All this talk of Holland is making me want to head to Amsterdam. What do you think Pam? First round’s on me! 🙂

  4. Kristi

    I’m so glad you both liked the poem. It was the only thing that brought me comfort for a long time and I think it helps explain to our friends in “Italy” what life is like now that we are in “Holland”. I’m sorry if it felt like a downer though, that certainly wasn’t my intention when I sent it to Eliza!

  5. Eliza

    We love the poem Kristi. I love the fact that it points out how wonderful and beautiful our journey (and daughter) will be. It will be different than what we originally expected but we will be better and stronger for it. :-). Thank you again for sharing it with us!!

    1. Mark Isham Post author

      I agree, Kristi it was a wonderful poem and very helpful. No apology needed, thanks for sending!

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