Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: "Perfect" Couple

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Perfect" Couple

Somebody put me out of my misery. The cat woke us up at 2:30 a.m., and now I can't get back to sleep. That is one of my many major flaws -- I can initially fall asleep, but once I'm awake, I'm usually awake for good.

Last night I made my husband laugh. Not the obligatory, polite laugh I get a lot when I tell painfully bad jokes, but a really healthy belly laugh. It was such a wonderful sound that reminded me of the old days. It made me a little sad, too, because I realized how long it had been since I had heard him really laugh. Overall, I have promised to try not to speak for him here. He has his own quiet way of processing things, and I have learned that I need to leave him alone sometimes when there is something to be decided or pondered. It may take five minutes or ten years, but there is usually nothing I can say or do to speed the process along. I know that in general men feel helpless when they can't fix women's problems, but it goes both ways, too. I wish I could do more for Brian during this challenging time, but sometimes there is simply nothing I can do for him but wait and try to make him laugh in the meantime. For the most part, I don't feel like I have really succeeded lately. That's really tough for me.

When I was pregnant with Erik and we had just settled into our house, it wasn't long before a stray cat delivered kittens in our bathroom wall. I was going to bed one evening and heard mewing. Brian was soon thereafter perched on a ladder outside in the dark cutting into our new home to free them right away for me, as we had previously sealed up the holes in the house and the mother cat could not reach her babies to feed them. He pulled each one out, holding them safely against his flannel shirt on the way down the ladder as I watched out the window. Over the next few days at work I searched for adoptive parents and ended up having some gals come out to the house to take them home once I had successfully gotten the kittens on solid food. One of these ladies, whom I had never met, kept very obviously staring at us both the entire time she was here. On her way out the door, she finally said, "I just have to say something. This is going to sound really weird, but you guys seem like the perfect couple to me." She was honestly kind of weirded out by us, but in a very good way. I think BOTH Brian and I were glowing and happy during that time. Everything seemed to be falling precisely into its place back then, and the world could see it. I don't know if we will ever get that exact vibe back, as it was a more innocent time for us that is forever gone. However, when I think about it, things weren't perfect by any means back then, either. I am fairly certain we are on our way to peace and happiness again with a new idea of what perfect means to us as a couple and as a family. Time will tell.

Erik had group therapy yesterday. They changed the time to earlier in the morning, so I had to drop him off, kill time across town, and pick him up. Double fun for me. I spent probably a half hour observing him during his session. He seemed more determined to make it up the hall quickly to his classroom and immediately made himself at home with toys when we arrived. He did not cling to me at all. I decided to make a run over to Target to finally return Erik's hideously loud magnetic drawing set and a soft, pink bathrobe I purchased that instantly made me look like Bea Arthur. When I returned to the school, the kids were out on the playground. They were climbing on the equipment and having a great time. I scanned the scene for my son and then spotted him off by himself under the supervision of a therapist playing with the river rocks (does everybody around here landscape with those?). I spied on him from a window in the classroom for a while but finally made my way out to the playground to say hello. He took a break from his geologic studies and ran up and down the uneven, grassy hill a few times without any trouble. He loves to run. The fact that he was not slumped over in a corner expressionless and drooling cheered me immensely. The kids then gathered inside for a snack, and I found a stool in the corner away from the chaos. Each time I glanced Erik sitting in his little wooden chair at the table, he had a piece of food firmly in his grasp and was surveying the other kids surrounding him. He does not usually eat, as far as I can tell, during snack time at group. There is just too much going on. The first time I looked over at him, he was holding up a tiny fork with a juicy piece of watermelon on it. The second time I caught a glimpse of him, someone had kindly exchanged it for a cookie, and he had a death grip on the poor thing. It went nowhere near his mouth. In fact, in closing circle, he still had that cookie firmly in his grasp. I eventually pried it from him on our way out the door, and he ended up devouring it in the car in more quiet surroundings. On our way home, he yelled, "Buh bye! Buh bye!"

Being on the emotionally labile side yesterday, there were a few triggers that sent me into losing it, but overall I did fine. Just one good cry, and because of work I simply didn't have time to fall apart completely. I instead sent up an electronic smoke signal to my posse on line, and they let me vent and made me smile. Thanks, girls.

This morning was supposed to be my fun time. Erik and I have an appointment at Sears for his yearly photo session, but I fear I will have to pump myself full of coffee to stay awake. Last year Erik smiled a total of three times, and we had to make complete jackasses of ourselves to get him to do it, much to the amusement of the folks in the waiting area. Luckily, the photographer was talented and quick on the draw. This year should be easier and much more fun for me and Erik. I will post photos as soon as I can.


Blogger Lisa R said...

What a beautiful bride...Thanks for sharing that picture I just love it.

I totally understand about helping your Husband process everything I wish I could do more for Chris too. It is such a grey area...

Keep the electronic smoke signals coming we are always here for you and I know you are out htere too...

Love ya tons,

10:26 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

You are such an amazing writer... I could follow along in my mind all the events you wrote about and see them so clearly in my mind.

Erik at school really touched me.. we're so proud of them, but still want them so near us. Your little baby is getting older! (sob sob)

Oh, and P.S.... I hear Bea Arthur is really hot! :)
Love ya- K

6:15 PM  

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