Welcome to Holland – a Musing
When you are going to have a baby
it’s like planning a fabulous trip to Italy.
You buy a bunch of guide books
and make wonderful plans.
The Colosseum, Michaelangelo’s David,
the gondolas in Venice.
You may even learn 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 flight attendant comes and says,
‘Welcome to Holland.’
‘Holland?’ you say. ‘What do you mean Holland?’
‘I signed up for Italy.’
‘All my life I dreamed of going to Italy.’
But there’s been a change of 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 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 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 notice that Holland has windmills.
Holland has tulip.
Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is coming and going from Italy.
And they’re bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.
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 go away because the loss of a 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, very lovely things about Holland