Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: One...Two...Three...GO!

Monday, December 11, 2006

One...Two...Three...GO!

Erik loves to count to three and yell, "Go!" What a fabulous way to announce that our Christmas season is officially underway!

We had a busy weekend. Saturday we bundled up and joined Kathy, Molly (Kathy's mother-in-law), and Dominick downtown for the Christmas parade. Baby Sammy and Shaena were down the street, but we didn't see them in the chaos. The streets were already lined with people when we arrived, but we found a weak spot and a place to park our bulky strollers. Erik was placed on Brian's shoulders, and we watched for the beginning of the parade to round the bend down the street. Of course, we first saw a gleaming, white fleet of police motorcycles, blue and red lights spasmodically flashing. As they made their way by, they flipped their sirens on and off. WOOHP! WOOHP! WOOHP! This elicited a loud wail from our instantly very frightened, red-faced child. I plucked Erik from his perch and held him close to me, frantically trying to locate his little body to pat underneath the thick layer of his down coat. Thankfully, he was easily comforted and returned to his seat on his dad without complaint. We repeated this ritual about three times. I can't really accurately explain how I feel when Erik reacts this way to things that should be fun -- things other kids seem to enjoy without hesitation. What makes me feel even more horrible is that my own eyes water every time. I feel so awful that I just want to cry right along with him. It's maddening. But life and the parade must go on! For the most part, we all enjoyed everything that came down the street. There were giant, girl-faced drops of blood marching for the Red Cross entry, a gang of folks in expensive leather attire sporting mid-life crises riding farty-sounding Harley Davidsons, classic Chevy automobiles gleaming despite the absence of sunlight, and a scary green Grinch atop a floating mountain of presents. My heart picked up its pace when I saw my old high school marching band come around the corner. As they approached, I saw that our pristine white Nikes with the black swoosh were replaced with a scuffed, slovenly collection of old tennis shoes. Our precariously balanced water buffalo hats were nowhere in sight. Instead, I saw only cheap, flaccid Santa hats atop a very small group of bored-looking teenagers with drooping instruments. Kathy and I looked at each other and winced. When we marched in high school, we were lucky enough to represent Oregon in the national Fourth of July parades in Washington, DC and Philadelphia. We were a light golden tan from hours of marching up and down rural roads with our band and had every note memorized. We marched wearing heavy polyester jackets in sweltering heat, and we were proud because we completed both parades without anyone passing out. Our spirits were lifted this weekend, though, when we saw and heard the new high school's band round the corner. We bounced to the drum cadence, looked at each other, and nodded our approval. When I looked up at Erik for his input, his lips had that familiar, awful puffy appearance and hung open. However, he was only halfway shut down. His eyes seemed to be absorbing the scene in front of him. He seemed to enjoy an impressive convoy of tractors with waving drivers and the occasional dog. There was even a prancing poodle wearing gold shoes.

Santa rounded the corner at the end of the parade riding a giant, red wall of fire truck. I grabbed Erik and walked away from the street, stopping a half block away to where we could watch Santa float by above the crowd but not stand terribly close to any unexpected blasts from sirens or horns. He at least feigned interest, and we began our walk back to the car.

Sunday Kathy and I baked cookies here. Despite having one oven and all of the counters underneath a layer of recipe cards, bakeware, and thousands of jars, bags, and tubs of ingredients, we did well. We baked at least five different batches of cookies. Our only casualty was the fudge, which came out of the pot too granular and dry and then shortly thereafter began to sweat, as if it had run some sort of baked goods marathon, rendering it a greasy slab of cocoa-flavored disaster. We're not sure what happened, but it gave us a case of the giggles. I also discovered that baking my very finicky sugar cookies while I'm distracted is a bad idea. Other than that, we ended up with some gorgeous, delicious cookies, and I'm even more in the Christmas spirit. It was just what I needed. It took me back 30 years to the days we baked together wearing our little Campfire Blue Birds uniforms.

Brian backed the truck up to the porch last night and drug in the largest Christmas tree I have ever seen short of the White House. It's an approximately 10-foot tall Douglas fir. We will need a ladder to decorate it. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but it certainly scents the living room nicely. Erik gave his approval with a lot of jogging around its base and saying, "Pritty." He also voiced his appreciation of the lighted swag I put up on the balcony ("Pritty yites").

It's time to get back into the work week, although my heart isn't quite in it. I want to decorate the tree instead!

6 Comments:

Blogger Aspen said...

Ah as Christmas gets closer, the weekends get fuller. The hustle and bustle of Christmas gets me so excited and full of joy every year. Now, do you need my address to fedex me some cookies? ;-)

I demand pictures of the beautiful tree! LOVE YOU GIRL!

(PS. Isn't "pritty yites" two words? YAY!)

3:00 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

I love Erik'd words "Pritty Yites" best - that's a great holiday present!! SOunds like your town goes all out for the holiday season. What fun!
Love -K

5:52 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

Ten foot tree? Wow! That's huge, must take a ton of decorations, lol. Ditto aspen, I want pictures! I haven't smelled a real tree in...well, geeze, can't remember when the last time was. Been nearly 20 years I guess. That's sad. Now I'm jealous, see if you get me a scratch and sniff to go with those pics. :)

8:07 PM  
Blogger Kati said...

Nancy, I wish I could hear Erik's sound while he is counting or says pritty yites :)))))))He could be so sweet!
Szabi is in shut-up mode still, only asking where is daddy ('apa' in hungarian)... I hope that in a few months I can be as proud for Szabi's words as you are to Erik!!!! :)

Love, Kati

5:00 AM  
Blogger PASLAY'S FROM IDAHO said...

WOW!!! I HAVE FINALLY CAUGHT UP OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS READING YOUR BLOG ENTRIES! WOW!!! I HAVE CRIED LIKE A BABY AND THEN THE NEXT LAUGHED LIKE I WAS WATCHING A CLOWN AT THE CIRCUS AND THEN THOSE MOMENTS THAT JUST REACH DEEP INTO YOUR SOUL.....

GIVE THAT SWEET BOY A BIG HUG FROM HIS AUNTIE CINNAMON AND I CAN JUST HEAR HIS PRECIOUS VOICE SAYING, "PRITTY YITES", JUST TO DARN CUTE!!!

I LOVE YOU GIRL AND WE ARE SO MISSING YOU ALL THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON!!!

I AM WITH ASPEN... YOU KNOW MY ADDRESS SO I AM WAITING ANXIOUSLY FOR SOME CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!

BRAD SAYS HE CAN SEE BRI CUTTING DOWN THE BIGGEST TREE HE COULD POSSIBLY GET HIS HANDS ON! WE LAUGHED JUST IMAGINING WHAT STORIES HE COULD SHARE HUNTING DOWN THE PERFECT PASLAY TREE! :)

BIG HUGS AND I SMELL THE COOKIES THAT ARE ON THEIR WAY!!!

P.S. BRAYDEN SAYS HE WILL TAKE ERIK TO THE FOURTH OF JULY PARADE AND HE WONT BE SCARED BECAUSE HE WILL HOLD ERIK'S HAND AND BROGAN CAN HOLD THE OTHER! JUST SO SWEET!!

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh now I think I want to bake...I think that is the same kind of tree we got but not that tall I can not wait to see...

8:54 PM  

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