Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Reality Check

Friday, July 14, 2006

Reality Check

Yesterday I drove Erik to group for the first day of his summer program. I carried him into the building and set him down so he could walk up the hall to his classroom himself. Unfortunately, I am usually in too much of a hurry to let him walk when we are out and about. It was an agonizingly slow process with the distractions and temptations of other people and offices, but we finally made it up the ramp to the entrance of the room. He seemed to quickly recognize where we were but kept a kung fu grip on my hand for a few minutes before letting himself loose. I stayed for about 20 minutes to chat with the therapists and watch Erik play. They had replaced the seeds and lentils in the recessed table with water and toys, and Erik joined a little girl with Down syndrome there. I have seen this particular girl a couple of times, and she has completely melted my blackened, atrophied heart. She is probably about 2 and has long, white-blond hair. She very easily offered me a couple of toys with an entirely disarming little smile. Erik, meanwhile, was so into spinning the water wheel that he didn't even notice anybody around him, including her, in his own little Erik-world. An older boy I have seen there before walked into the classroom with his mother. What was truly amazing was the fact that the last time I saw him, he could only crawl. It felt natural to begin clapping and cheering with the rest of the adults when I saw him. As the rest of the kids arrived, I decided it was time to leave. I approached Erik, gave him a kiss on the top of his head, and whispered goodbye. Of course, he didn't even begin to notice me or my leaving in the least, and my heart ached that old, familiar ache I have come to know so well. After my own long, slow walk down the hallway and out into the seemingly very inappropriate sunshine, I decided being alone was a terrible idea and called a friend to meet me at Red Robin for bottomless french fries and people watching before heading home to work. It was the first good idea I have come up with in some time.

After a productive afternoon, Erik came home with the excitement of the day having kept naps completely at bay. When he is tired, his already tenuous muscle control fizzles out for the most part, and he staggers wildly about the house, sometimes crashing haphazardly into doors and walls. For the past couple of weeks, we have been putting Erik down only to have him wake up an hour or so later screaming bloody murder (even at full volume, Erik is still very quiet compared to other kids). At first, I thought he was having nightmares, but it takes too much to console him for that to be truly the case. We held him last night when this happened, sang to him, and gave him a drink of water. He acts like his reflux might be bothering him or he seems to be hurting somewhere. I am anxious to get his calcium level back to see if it is normal, as a high level can cause agitation. However, after one episode, he is usually down again after letting him cry for a few minutes. I go into our bedroom, shut the door so I can no longer hear his sobbing like we used to do when he was tiny, and remind myself I did everything I could. I note the time and check on him in a few minutes. He is usually asleep by this time. As for me, I was awake at four this morning with the howling coyotes for some reason. Today Shaena is taking me out for a margarita, which I am looking forward to, and I plan on doing some very serious relaxing this weekend. If the weather is nice, I will fill up Erik's pool and spend some time with him in the yard. I think next week will be much easier on me and Erik once we get back into the swing of things.

I bought Erik the Curious George soundtrack the other day, being a huge Jack Johnson fan myself, and this song seems to sum up how I am feeling about my son these days. I highly recommend the CD. It's labeled as a "sing along," and the words are included in a nice little booklet.

Broken -- Jack Johnson
With everything ahead of us
We left everything behind
But nothing that we needed
At least not at this time
And now the feeling that I'm feeling
Well it's feeling like my life is finally mine
With nothing to go back to we just continue to drive
Without you I was broken
But I'd rather be broke down with you by my side
I didn't know what I was looking for
So I didn't know what I'd find
I didn't know what I was missing
I guess you've been just a little too kind
And if I find just what I need
I'll put a little peace in my mind
Maybe you've been looking too
Or maybe you don't even need to try
Without you I was broken
But I'd rather be broke down with you by my side
With everything in the past
Fading faster and faster until it was gone
Found out I was losing so much more than I knew all along
Because everything I've been working for
Was only worth nickels and dimes
But if I had a minute for every hour that I've wasted
I'd be rich in time, I'd be doing fine
Without you I was broken
But I'd rather be broke down with you by my side


Blogger Aspen said...

Oh Nancy. You take my breath away more with every post you make. I feel your raw feelings on a daily basis as Daven goes with his GranZ every morning, and same when I pick him up. Never noticing whether I am there or not.

Someday soon, I would love to meet you and Erik. I feel such a closeness to you that you may never understand. I just feel that you put in words exactly what I am thinking and feeling, but never know exactly how to say them.

So, until we meet…keep writing so I can keep reading.


7:27 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

Nance, I love Jack Johnson!!! Emma has that sound track it is GREAT!!!
It is nice to get away alone although it is a bit bitter sweet to leave are little angles and get no response from them.Just wait untill he just tosses you a nonchalant wave and is gone with his friends. You'll end up walking to the car thinking oh my has my baby grown up. Enjoy your weekend:)

8:51 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

I wonder why he's doing that wake-up thing... I didn't know the high levels w/the calcium could agitate. The same thing happens with Brady sometimes but I am attributing it to either his teeth coming in and/or gas. He had his latest calcium testing last spring, but the doc said we only need to do it a few times a year.

I hate the "let him cry" thing.. even though we're doing good. I hope the margaritas were good!

9:07 PM  

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