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.