But I don’t speak Dutch!

It’s the day everybody finds out which primary school their children will go to in September. It’s all very exciting! 

I had to apply for a ‘mainstream’ (normal) school place for Owen too, just in case things don’t click into place for him to go to special school in September. 

So today, I will find out what could have been if Owen was able to go to a mainstream school. I’m still excited! I’m excited for my friends to find out for their children too. But it’s a funny feeling at the same time.

It’s explained really really well in this poem: 

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. 

Written by Emily Perl Kingsley 

We got into the mainstream school we wanted! Hopefully we can get our place at the special school too! If not…


One thought on “But I don’t speak Dutch!

  1. anon. says:

    Your blog is so brilliant! I pray that Owen gets into the school you want. What a beautiful poem you have chosen and a very funny caption at the end! I look forward to reading your blog everyday and I know it helps lots of other people. keep up the good writing, you and Owen are true stars.


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