Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Blessed

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


A couple things before I go into my crazy manifesto. This is a photo of Erik and his beloved river rocks yesterday morning. He picks up rocks, smiles at them, turns them seemingly very thoughtfully, admiring their contours, and clicks them together before throwing them down and exchanging them for others. He looks so content when he does this, and it is his favorite thing to do these days. Maybe he will go into landscape design. We might have to move to a more arid, desert state, where people like having yards full of rocks.

Here is an article on Williams I heard about on the board this morning. I was warned by another parent when I joined WSA about the board being extreme and depressing. She was right. I don't read it every day anymore or post many messages but get things here and there from it.

I had so many things going on in my head yesterday that I can't organize them all or pick one to write about. Yesterday, of course, was Tuesday, which means Erik went to school. He does much better than I do. When we get there, one of the therapists greets him, and we put his things in his "locker" area before getting him set up doing an activity. This time I put a little plastic apron on him and stood him at the table filled with water and toys. Another boy was dumping water out of a cup, but Erik, of course, went for the water wheel, spinning it like a wild man, ignoring the water completely. I stood up, not wanting to become drenched, watched him from the door for a few minutes, and left. Erik doesn't ever seem to notice me leaving. Although it is nice not to have to leave a sobbing child, it makes my heart ache. I have processed a lot of what goes with being Erik's mom, but I am still working on that one. We are just shy of 3 months since the diagnosis, so I am still processing a lot. There is a parent group for us down the hall, but I can't bring myself to attend. I'm afraid of going into a big, ugly cry in front of people I don't want to know, as on days he goes to school this sloshing lake of tears is too close to the surface. I sneak out instead and let my emotions go in the car. I pulled myself together to pick up work from a couple offices at the medical center and hit the grocery store on the way home. When I am depressed, the grocery store is the place for me. If I am not cheered by the waxy, glistening produce in gravity-defying displays, I can find refuge in my other favorite aisles. I now have three favorite aisles: Cleaning products, baby items, and wine. I will save you the reasons why I love these particular sections of the store, but yesterday I was enjoying my own little world, happily sniffing the new kinds of laundry detergent, when I was approached by a man probably in his late 40s. He looked perfectly normal except for the fact it didn't look like he had shaved for a couple days. He startled me by saying, "HELLO! How are you today?" I jumped and felt that awful, terse, fake smile of mine creep across my face as I automatically pushed my cart forward and replied too quickly, "Just fine, thank you. How are you doing?" To my surprise, he enthusiastically said, "Great! I am blessed!" He then passed by and was gone. In the old days, I would have forgotten about this man immediately and gone back to my love affair with Mr. Clean. Those days are gone. My eyes are open, and I can see the people around me now, although my shyness generally keeps me from any sort of effective, comfortable communication with them. I have heard rumors about someone with WS in town who has a job and even drives a car about this man's age. Was this the man? Will our son approach everyone like this as an adult? Will people hurt our son or will they just give him horrible, fake smiles like mine and push their shopping carts away from him? Will he feel blessed? I had to smile to myself in spite of the tangle of questions forming in my brain, because I have been given the gift of seeing what this man sees. I am very blessed indeed.


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