Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Breakthrough

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I have been freaked for weeks now wondering how Erik would do with my nephews in the house for the weekend. Truthfully, I had second thoughts about the commotion surrounding Erik’s birthday, wondering if a party was going to be enjoyable or a complete nightmare for him. I thought about not having a party at all. I ended up keeping as many kids as I could off the guest list, and there were only four in attendance with approximately 15 adults.

When Brian’s brother and family came to stay with us on Saturday, I was waiting for shutdown mode, tears, and shaking upon the door opening. What happened next was a complete surprise. What we saw instead was a curious, animated little boy so interested in his cousins that noses actually touched. For the very first time, I saw Erik smile to greet another person his size. It was nothing short of a miracle to me. Once I explained to my wonderful nephews (ages and 2 and 4) that Erik has no sense of personal space and was simply saying hello, they instantly understood as only kids do, and there were even miniature hugs exchanged. There was more of the same as the minutes, the hours, and then the whole weekend progressed. There was no shutting down. There were no tears. There was no uncontrollable shaking. Erik demonstrated genuine interest in his cousins and what they were doing. When he was a little anxious, he clung to me or Brian but still wanted to take in what was going on and was easily coaxed to smile. I called my parents that evening and shared the news with them. This was a big first.

Sunday morning Erik woke up continuing to demonstrate the same behavior. Boppa, Gramma, and great-grandma arrived with the cake, a fabulous homemade confection in the shape of a semi truck, including Hershey bar mudflaps, Oreo wheels, filling made from Erik’s favorite frozen three-berry Costco mixture, a Pez license plate, and a tiny, yellow, edible “support our troops” ribbon. When Erik saw his cake, he did a combination spazzy run/dance and was obviously very excited. It went nicely with my flashing shoebox stoplight, red/yellow/green balloons, and glittery traffic control signs. We spent Sunday morning getting ready for the party, and it came together beautifully. Erik handled it all gracefully and enjoyed it all, including playing with the other kids on our ghetto backyard playground equipment. He seemed to enjoy every moment of the party. I laughed when he learned to say "cake," as it sounded exactly like he was doing a George W. Bush impression.

It amazes me that Erik had this complete change of personality within two days of receiving his orthotics, and I can’t deny there is a possible connection here. They seem to have given him a new sense of confidence and make him feel more substantial physically. I took him to the store to shop for Brian’s birthday yesterday, and he said “hi” at the top of his lungs 45 times to everyone he saw while smiling a broad, new smile I have never seen before. He was almost aggressive about being friendly. There is no trace of the slumped-over, drooling boy in the shopping cart I used to know. I take him to group this morning, and am dying to see how he does there after such a miraculous weekend. I think we are going to have our hands full from here on out. I confess that I am more than a little nervous about that, as this was quite literally an overnight change and will require some getting used to. New doors are opening, and I am anxious about what is on the other side in terms of safety and my sanity. I saw the way people looked at him in the store and wanted to punch them as I went into mama bear mode. However, I am very happy Erik is…well, happy. That is the best darn birthday present ever.

We still have presents left to open but are enjoying each gift slowly, one at a time. That seemed to be the most appropriate way to celebrate. After all, that’s how Erik has taught us to live our lives. xoxox


Blogger Amy K said...

Wow, I am speechless and teared up. I am so proud of Erik, beyond belief. Love you guys,

8:28 AM  
Blogger Aspen said...

It is so nice to hear that he had a great time! I am already starting to get anxiety about Daven and Christmas time along with his birthday party. I wish I could have been there to help him celebrate. I can't wait to see those pictures.

Love you both!

8:34 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

Yeah Yeah Yeah!!! Didn't God realize it was Eriks's birthday, not yours? I think YOU got the gift! :)

Love you! K

9:33 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

That is AWESOME!!! I bet people were looking at him beaause he is so darn cute... It all jsut start moving so fast our babies grow up. I am so glad everything turned out great. I want to see a picture of tha cake!!!

5:46 PM  
Blogger Kati said...

Hurray!!!!! I became very exciting while reading your blog, I am very proud of Erik!!!!! :))))))))
I don't know if this breakthrough is because of his orthotics, but if there is a connection between them, I go and have one to Szabi :DDDD
Love, Kati

3:34 AM  
Blogger Teresa & Shawn said...

Oh, Nancy, that's so wonderful. Now others can see that amazing little boy you already know!

Can I have some of that cake? You better have taken a photo of it!!

10:43 AM  
Blogger Lizard Eater said...

Good times! Soak 'em up!

1:23 PM  

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