Italy vs. Holland vs. Beirut

To describe raising her child with Down Syndrome, Emily Perl Kingsley wrote an inspirational modern fable called "Welcome to Holland" and her conceit is this: when you are expecting a child, it is like preparing for a trip to Italy . . . you buy guidebooks, learn some phrases, anticipate seeing the Colosseum and Michelangelo's David. . . but if you have a child with a disability, the plane lands and the stewardess says, "Welcome to Holland!" and this is quite a surprise, as you were expecting to go to Italy, and all your friends are in Italy, discussing Italian sights and sounds . . . but you will eventually realize that though Holland isn't as flashy as Italy, it has its merits (tulips and Rembrandts) and you simply have to adjust . . . but this metaphor isn't for everyone: I am still plugging away at Andrew Solomon's magnificent and gigantic book Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity and one mother of an autistic child wanted to clarify that for her it's not like this at all, and so she penned a fable for the parents of children with autism and called it "Welcome to Beirut."


Whitney said...

Where I work, everyone is familiar with the Welcome to Holland poem, and there are references to it all the time. It's a very accurate analogy, as far as I can tell.

Dave said...

never heard of it, until this book, but apparently some people think of holland differently than i think of holland.

A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.