The beauty of tulips

As I already mentioned, I was so touched by Lisa Leonard’s last post about her special needs son, David. I just adore these special kids and have more admiration for their mothers than anyone else in this world. Those mothers (and fathers) are truly angels on an errand for God.

Abigail’s teacher has a son with Downs Syndrome and I always tell Mrs. Webb how I am almost jealous. LG and I both think that Downs kids are the cutest in the world. Mrs. Webb, of course, feels the same way. She agreed with the following piece when referring to her experience with having her son:

I think that this little literary diddy can be applied to so many life experiences.


by Emily Perl Kingsley.

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. c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.


  1. That was beautiful! I have such respect for mothers who give everything they have to their sweet and special children. I’m sure the Lord knows I would stress about not being in Italy so much he would never bless me with such a precious child. Thanks for such a great post.

  2. Dallin’s taken us to somewhere in the middle, not sure where yet. It would be nice if he had come with a road map. Hopefully we’ll know soon, after all these *flippin* evaluations!

  3. What a beautiful way to describe such emotions. I shared this with my 17 year old son tonight..he sat for a few seconds and looked at me and just said “Wow! When we volunteered for the Special Olympics…I always thought of the kid…never the parent.” Thank you for posting that!

  4. Wow! That is so beautifully written — so touching. I admire and respect these parents as well. People don’t always seem to realize what a blessing these children are. The baby we lost (not sure if you read my miscarriage post) would have had downs syndrome, had I carried her to term. I often wonder what she would have been like!

  5. This is so beautiful, touching and moving. There will and always has been a special place in my heart for special needs children.

  6. that is really a neat one, alice. I don’t know if we’ll ever know what makes carver so difficult. sometimes i wish it was something with a label, but we keep plugging away and praying to understand him more. I think what’s great about her analogy is that it can be applied to so many of life’s difficult surprises. unemployment, not passing the bar the first time (we got to do it twice, too!), etc… so often our plans don’t go like we hoped.thanks for sharing it. It’s something that’ll stick with me.

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