Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Chilly

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Samantha & Erik
Our trip over the mountains to visit my soon-to-be 90-year-old grandmother was placed on hold because of an approaching storm that looked like a pulsing, chartreuse booger on our meteorologist's radar screen on last night's news. It did snow here all day Thursday, but we don't have much to show for it now. Thursday was the day we had pool therapy in the morning and a home visit just an hour after we got home from that. It was insane. On top of everything, I grocery shopped, worked, shoveled snow, cooked dinner, and rescued a stray dog that refused to leave our property and sat in the storm all day. I am happy that we survived the week, although I'm now exhausted. I'm glad that our IFSP has been rescheduled for March.

Erik stacked some blocks this morning, but he is more into demolition than construction. Last night I built towers, and he systematically destroyed them Godzilla style. Each time a tower met its demise, he would exclaim, "Oh no!" or "Oh nuts!" He later fell off the love seat like a seasoned stunt double, crawled up onto my lap, and said to himself, "Poor baby!" What a character. I laughed a lot yesterday.

Since my computer's hard drive kicked the bucket, I had to reconstruct an updated backup of my blog to store on a CD. It was interesting, to say the least, to revisit what I have written here. I have nearly 200 pages of written material now. I was genuinely surprised to see just how far I have progressed over the last year. My bad days are few and far between now, although they still sneak up on me. I am glad I have a place to sit and write how I feel. I cannot share my feelings verbally to this degree with anyone, even if I pay them good money to listen. I have always had a difficult time expressing how I feel verbally.

Most of my fear now comes from the unknown, especially when it comes to Erik's future health. I have learned to take one day at a time in that regard and enjoy my moments with him as fully as humanly possible. I can also do nothing in terms of predicting what his level of functioning will be at this point except for hope for the best and attempt to teach him the best I know how. This requires a great deal more creativity than I anticipated in terms of helping him understand the world. I imagine it's hard for some people looking at my life and reading how I feel to understand why I write what I do. I can't describe how difficult it is to simply enjoy things like most mothers when I am being instructed how to teach my child to speak by speech pathologists, how to walk by physical therapists, and how to eat, dress, and even play by occupational therapists. Erik and I are both being evaluated and scored. The truth is, this has simply sucked a lot of the normal out of being a mother. No, I don't enjoy things like most mothers. I never will. However, I feel less and less sorry for myself as time passes. Why? What I discovered long ago is that I actually treasure each smile, word, step, and accomplishment more than most mothers ever will. Watching Erik reach each milestone is simply extraordinary, creating in me a first-man-on-the-moon-type of feeling in my heart, releasing a thousand butterflies in my stomach, and making me feel I could easily walk on air.

I remember being pregnant with Erik and driving home from the hospital after we found out we were going to have a boy. I have always wanted a son, and even though I was alone in the car, I actually said out loud, "God, I'm not worthy of this!" I had tears running down my face, and I was the happiest girl on the planet. I wanted to fall to my knees. At that moment, I was imagining a very different life for our family than the one we live now. I had no idea where Erik would take me and how many wonderful people he would bring to me. Despite all of the challenges that we face, I still feel the same way every day. I'm incredibly blessed to know this little boy, and it's a true honor to be his mother. I'm still not close to being worthy of such an incredible gift and such gigantic responsibility, but I take great comfort in the fact that I know I am doing my very best.

As Erik would say, "All right! All right!"

Sheesh. Somebody pass the freaking Kleenex.

Today I plan on watching the storm swallow the mountains, and I'll start a batch of chili eventually. You are welcome to join me! I wish you all could.

White Chicken Chili

1 T vegetable oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 can (4 oz) diced jalapeno peppers
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
3 (15 oz) cans white beans
1 cup shredded jack cheese

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender. Mix in the garlic, jalapeno, green chiles, cumin, oregano, and cayenne. Continue to cook and stir the mixture until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in the chicken broth, chicken, and white beans. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the mixture from heat. Stir in the cheese until melted. Serve warm.

(You are what you eat. I like mine hella spicy. You can substitute mild green chiles for the jalapenos to tone it town, if you'd like.)

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Anonymous Aspen said...

I know exactly what you mean by both of you being scored. I feel that everyday is a test and most days, I don't seem to past that test to make the grade. Daven however, is a true champ and will always be!

And could you pass the Kleenex this way when you are done? Thanks!

Big kisses for you all!

12:55 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

What you write is so true, and I feel exhausted just reading the lines. I don't think I realized how much I actually do to try to bring Brady up to speed. Yes, I know we are busy, but I don't always realize that it is also true that everything we do with him is for some ultimate goal... we just can't "play" because he will progress further and better if whatever we "play" is actually some constructed moment.

I wish I lived down the street - I would have no problem inviting myself over for a bowl of chili :)

9:26 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

I'm excited to hear joy rising up through sections of this post. You're connecting the monumental moments of your life – past, present and future.

Some blessings unfortunately come in challenging or difficult packages. They are not usually ones we would have chosen, but nonetheless they teach and bless.

Keep in mind that God sees the upper and we the under side of the tapestry of our lives.

10:51 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

Pooh on the storm, but I do think I'll try the chili but with turkey white meat instead. I don't eat chicken, wonder if I should change anything about it to make it more tender since I'm using turkey.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

If I lived down the street we would be raging alcholics LOL I would have to drink through the spicy chilly LOL.

I am combining comments...

I have a picture of Tatum back when she was much smaller and she was blue... I never really paid much mind to eriks Red cheeks, lots of babies and toddlers have them... You should just start messing with people when they ask questions from now could be pretty funny...I love you :)

4:16 PM  

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