Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Tailgating

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tailgating



I went to see the preacher
To teach me how to pray
He looked at me and smiled
Then the preacher turned away
He said if you want to tell him something
You ain't gotta fold your hands
Say it with your heart
Your soul and believe it
And I'd say amen

-- "Bang a Drum" Bon Jovi


I have no idea where to start with this post, so I will just start typing and see what happens.

Saturday Brian and I drove to Corvallis for the Oregon State/Idaho State football game. We dropped Erik off at my parents' house before we left town. We found a nice parking spot in our usual lot next to an emerald-green park and unloaded our little barbecue. The meat had marinated in a cooler on the drive, and we cooked up juicy slabs of chicken and steak. We were soon joined by Brian's friends from work and their friends in the spot next to us. When it was time to go to the game, we walked to the stadium and hit the bookstore on the way to purchase some OSU gear. I was initially very concerned because the afternoon started out very cloudy and cold, but the sun soon emerged and I didn't end up getting frostbite after all.

The game was not the most exciting match I have ever witnessed, but I enjoyed it, anyway. I admit that the most entertaining part of the whole experience was the group of bear-sized gentlemen in front of us. They enjoyed an impressive array of snacks and smokeless tobacco and continuously spat at their feet into a brown reservoir of Copenhagen under a layer of floating sunflower seed husks. One of the men in their party, whom I named "Mr. Random-Man," shouted insults at whomever was in front of us on the other side of the retaining wall. Sometimes it was a player practicing kicking a football into a netted cage. Sometimes it was the crowd control monitor. Sometimes it was the cheerleaders. As the game progressed, his comments seemed to become more random and more frequent. I wondered what the cup they passed around contained. He also freely exchanged the name of Pocatello, Idaho for "Poke-A-Fella," much to the delight of the visiting team. Another man in this party, who was apparently trying to look tough in his oversized novelty football jersey, took off his hat and revealed he looked exactly like Mr. Weatherbee, the principal of Riverside High School, from behind. The young man of skinnier stature in the group had lips that peeled back to reveal a wall of pink gums and tobacco-yellow teeth when he smiled.

Once the game had finished and Idaho State was thoroughly beaten, we walked back to the truck and began a drive down dark highways in bright rivers of horrendous traffic to our favorite casino. When we arrived, we were easily spotted in our orange Oregon State gear and were greeted by people who wanted to know the final score. After freshening up in our room, we hit the casino floor. Brian hit the craps tables, and I hopped from slot machine to slot machine. After a dinner of fried food (oh, how I miss fried food) at the cafe at nearly 1 a.m., we hit the sack. In the morning, we started all over again, and I walked out $150 richer.

Sunday was my father's birthday, and we stayed for dinner at my parents' house when we made it back to town. It was good to see Erik, and Brian and I agreed he looked bigger somehow than the last time we saw him.

I was in Erik's way yesterday, and he said, "Excuse, mommy" as he went past. His language is evolving now at light speed. Tantrums are becoming more frequent, which scares me. I can't determine what is normal and what is Williams, although I suppose it doesn't make much difference. I only wonder because they are sudden and seem completely out of character for Erik. From what I have read, with the correct response, they will diminish with time, and angry outbursts followed by feelings of great remorse are quite common with this syndrome. As I sat in front of a slot machine this weekend, I couldn't stop thinking about him. Even mindless gambling isn't mindless anymore for me, as my brain no longer shuts off. No matter how far we travel or what we do, the brick in my brain that is WS is palpable and something I must carry with me at all times. Some days it feels lighter than others, but it is always present.

It was good to get away, but it was good to come home, too.

I sure missed that little guy.

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16 Comments:

Blogger Tara said...

First off - can I tell you how good you look? You are radiant in that picture!!! I know what you mean when you say your mind never shuts off. I've noticed how differently I treat payton and Koen. I always have such a hard time leaving Payton - for fear something may happen when I'm gone, she's not going to be okay without me, etc. With Koen, I don't have the fears, don't think about things nonstop. It's just a different feeling. I'm glad you were able to get away - and more than anything, glad you came away a winner!!! :)

2:03 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

$150 up hey? Well done :) sounds like a pedicure/manicure might be in order!
I understand, my mind never shuts off either - i think doing mindless tasks makes it worse somehow, that brick you mentioned is always there and having nothing else to think about just makes its weight heavier.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Gua said...

I can't tell you how much we enjoyed our weekend with Erik. The going to bed, getting up routine is such a pleasure! He's growing in many ways. Seems like there are changes every day, and it gets easier to have him for a length of time. I'm not even insulted when he won't consider tasting dinner! We all sat at the table for meals and really communicated.
And it's great to be able to give you the gift of time away and alone.

Looking forward to next time!

Love, Mom

P.S. He insisted that we have candles at dinner. I didn't realize you were so formal at your house!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I am so glad you guys got away by yourself. I am leaving Noah over night next weekend to go to the WS seminar in Ohio. It is the first time I have left him overnight. I am sure I will miss him but I desperately need a break. Am I horrible? I know what you mean about it always being there. I even catch it somehow coming up in conversations with my friends, this is something I am really working on.

4:41 PM  
Blogger camille said...

Sounds like you had a great time. It's good to be away and go on an extended date like that!!

I share that brick load with you everyday.

6:17 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

You are so cute. You just are!

Erik throwing tantrums? Well, I don't know how his tantrums are, but I can tell you in all honesty that from maybe 2ish to 4ish, there were times I could have left them in a heart beat...but somehow found the strength to stay around. :) Oh...my GOD, seriously, it was a stage and when they say the terrible 3's, it's like they'd known my kids.
It passes, as long as they see it doesn't get them what they want.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's great you were able to get away. Sounds like it was a fun time. Congrats on the $150

2:35 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

I feel that way SO MUCH...I never know what's normal 4-year old boy behavior, what's Down syndrome related and what's "other."

We're going to a Razorback game this weekend...just the two of us! Can't wait! Glad you had a good (and profitable!) time!

Do you care if I link you on our site?!

6:33 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Everybody --Thanks for the comments! They are always appreciated!

Leslie -- No, go right ahead. I would be honored.

7:15 AM  
Blogger THE PASLAY'S OF MOUNTAIN HOME said...

OH MY... NANCE WEARING BLACK AND ORANGE! WHAT A SUPPORTIVE WIFE! :)

GLAD YOU TWO GOT AWAY AND HAD SOME ALONE TIME AND FUN!!! BRAD SAYS IT IS OUR TURN NOW! LOL

TOO FUNNY ABOUT THE BOYS IN THE STANDS TALKING TRASH ABOUT POCATELLO! BETTER WATCH OUT... WE GOT SOME BIG COUNTRY BOYS IN POCATELLO... HAHAHAHA

AND WHAT ERIK SAID TO YOUR MOM ABOUT NEEDING CANDLES AT DINNER! TOO PRECIOUS AND FUNNY! I BET ERIK IS SUCH A RIOT! GLAD THAT YOUR PARENTS HAD A WONDERFUL TIME WITH ERIK!

BY THE WAY, YOU LOOK SMASHING AS ALWAYS NANCE AND YES BRIAN, I HEAR YA ASKING WHAT ABOUT ME?? HOT HAS ALWAYS BRIAN! LOL!!!

BIG HUGS TO YOU ALL!

7:58 AM  
Blogger All moments remembered said...

You look so happy in the picture!! And skinny too!! :)

Let me say I have had 4 kids and I know that those darn tantrum are something to really test our love!! I could have given each of my kids away during that stage. For me it was always the TERRIBLE THREES that were so hard. Hang in there it does get better and it does sound like Erik is advancing more and more all the time. How cute to say excuse me!! You have taught him well mom!!!
Also so you know us moms can never be away from our children and go mindless of them!! Wont ever ever happen!! They are part of us and they stick in our mind at all times NO matter what!!
Have a super week!!
Stacey

8:04 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Tantrums? Normal! i tell caleb i'm going to sell him to the gypsy's when they come around, but my grandma assured me that Caleb would love living with the gypsy's with all their dancing and music and costumes! so there goes that idea. Glad you had a nice getaway, even if you couldn't escape your thoughts. it's still nice.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

My oh my... you look HOT! Whata great picture!!

You're right - it doesn't matter what's typical or not in regards to tantrums, but they ARE typical. Your cute little angel will turn into the "devil in disguise" (quoting Amber for anyone who watched BB8). They will continue until you get the smart-mouth kid. I'm not sure what's worse :)

What a great getaway... I definitely have to plan something soon....

4:41 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

At least he didn't say "get out of the fucking way, mommy." Great post, good to hear you had fun! Hey, just go with your mommy gut on the tantrums.
XOXO
Amy

8:52 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

Great Pic looks like such fun, when you find the mind off switch let me know where it is...lol

9:42 AM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Sounds like there was a lot more going on in the stands than of the field. The River of Copenhagen sounds like you might have been playing Missouri... No! No!... then it would have been a river of Skoal! GROSS!
Great picture of you and Brian! A very handsome couple! ~ jb///

8:23 AM  

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