“FAR FROM THE TREE IS A BOOK WRITTEN BY ANDREW SOLOMON WHO EXPLORES HOW PARENTS RESPOND TO CHILDREN WHO ARE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT FROM THEM.”
Saw this episode today and I can’t wait to get my hands on the book!
“Welcome to Holland” is an essay, written in 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley, about having a child with a disability. The piece is given by many organizations to new parents of children with special-needs.
- “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.”
The metaphor is that the trip to Italy is a typical birth and child-raising experience, and that the trip to Holland is the experiencing of having and raising a child with special-needs.
- 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.”
In the end, however, the reader sees that the “trip” is still well worth it:
- 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.
My sons don’t have disabilities but I want to believe that they will be exceptional adults when they grow up. Whether they grow close from the tree or far away I will be a proud parent either way. I want them to be their own self and not what society tells them what they SHOULD be.
Let me read the book first and I will share more of his insights soon. (I hope it’s available here)
“When I was a kid and we went to a shoe store, the salesman said that my brother and I could each have a balloon. My brother wanted a red balloon and I wanted a pink balloon. My mother said, ‘I think you’d really rather have a blue balloon.’ And I said no, I really wanted a pink balloon and she said that my favorite color was blue. Now, my favorite color is blue, and I’m still gay.” —Andrew Solomon