Life’s Highway of Disability Includes Bumps and Detours

A journey of many miles starts with a single step.

Most often there are many stops along a curving path. Rarely is the journey a perfectly paved or straight road.

Often times, some of the road signs are missing or not what you expected to see.

Have you ever got stuck in the “Exit Only” lane when your initial plans were to continue barreling down the highway?

Worse yet, did that unintended exit lane turn you in a completely different direction, with no other available exits in sight allowing you to get back on track?

As a Mother, I am often asked to describe the experience of raising children with disabilities. In trying to help people who have not shared that unique experience and to aid in their understanding, I compare it to the world of travel.

When you are 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.

You plan to visit the:

-Michelangelo David
-Gondolas in Venice

Of course, you also learn some handy phrases in Italian.

It’s all very exciting.

However, despite preparing for Italy, a change in the flight plan dumps you in 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!”

So you’re now in Holland…and you’re told you must stay there too.

What would be your attitude at that point? A bit angry, miffed, confused and lost perhaps?

The important thing is that they haven’t left you in a horrible, disgusting or filthy place.

It’s just a different place.

Now you have more work to do, you must go out and buy new guidebooks and learn a whole new language. Positively speaking, you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

Sure, it’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But, after you’ve been there for a while, catch your breath, look around and get the lay of the land you begin to notice that Holland has:


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 plans fallen through will never completely go away because the loss of that dream is significant.

But, if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Continually remind yourself, that no matter what your “Holland” is in this life, it’s just a different place. Soak in what it has to offer and be grateful.

Open your eyes, look around and smell the roses…frequently.

Remember, a first step starts the journey of many miles.  Forge your path and discover what it has to offer.

You might be pleasantly surprised.

Share your adventure with me, what it was and what you learned. Leave you comment below.

Where have your “travels” taken you? I look forward to hearing your story.

Karen Simmons
Mother, Wife, Author, Founder & CEO of


P.S. Here is something I would like to recommend that will give you the tips, strategies, and tools you need to help understand and cope with the unexpected. Download a video here:


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