I found this and I thought it was a powerful metaphor. I know it's odd to use a post to just exhibit someone else's work but I include it to show my respect for how it provoked my thinking, not having a disabled child myself....
Welcome to Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a disabled child. To try and 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 guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, Michelangelo's 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. All my life I have 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 never would have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy but after you have 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 Rembrandt.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy and they are all bragging about what a wonderful time they have had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes that was where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And 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.