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If you have never been


then please do not welcome us to Holland

for you know nothing of the turbulence

as we touch down

unpleasantly surprised, nauseous

and abjectly alive.


If you have never been

do not romanticize Rembrandt’s portraits

or ignore the etchings of a storm

do not describe your garden lined with tulips

while imagining what I mourn.


You have never been, so listen

bow your head

but do not avert your eyes

from this unflinching snuggle

as we learn to sing new lullabies.









A note about this poem: This poem should be read alongside the wonderful writing by Emily Perk Kingsley called “Welcome to Holland,” crafted to explain to others what it is like to be a parent with a child with disability. Emily’s words helped validate many of the emotions I have felt as I wrestle with this unplanned departure from the parenting journey my husband and I had imagined. We are coming up on a year since diagnosis, and while I am embracing this new world as best I can, I’m still angry, still grieving, still learning how to find strength every day.



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