Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Pearls

Thursday, October 18, 2007


The house is filled with the rich, sweet scent of turtle brownies baking. I finally had a chance to bake some for Jeff, the bus driver. I will enclose one of my homemade information cards on Williams syndrome so he will finally know the reason Erik rides his bus. I rarely find a natural, comfortable opportunity to share information about what makes Erik different, so I am learning to create my own ways to accomplish this, preferably after a person gets to know Erik for who he is. In this case, I figure the guy might be curious and should know, since he provides care for my son. Erik calls Jeff the "screwdriver."

School + Bus + Driver = Screwdriver.

Makes perfect sense to me.

When they pulled up to the house on Tuesday, I saw Erik's blond head pop up behind the steering wheel. Jeff taught him how to press the button that would open the door for me. Of course, there was a great deal of horn honking as well.

Erik is doing great. This is going to be a magical year for him, if what I have read in the WS literature rings true. He sang all of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" several times at dinner at various tempos last night while Brian and I stared at him wide-eyed, and he showed me where Stinky Dog's tail was this morning ("Here's tail!"). He works out with me more and more each morning like a tiny personal trainer, telling me to "Lift leg!" and "Reach!" His heart is on his sleeve these days about the people he sees or misses. If he sees vehicles that resemble the ones friends or family members drive, he begins talking about them, craning his neck from his car seat to see if they are inside when he used to sit and drool, unaware of the world outside the car. He knows the difference between a Subaru and a Ford. He is becoming more emotional, and there are now more obvious reasons behind his actions instead of just mysterious, hysterical reactions for us to decipher. He tried unsuccessfully to fight off tears when I left him at class this morning. He tells me he is glad to see me and that he missed me.

I dropped off the collection of baby things I mentioned earlier that has been sitting in the back of my Jeep. I said a quick prayer about this, as I wasn't sure how it would feel. As I carried the baby bathtub and several diaper boxes full of clothing to the back of the Goodwill truck, a passerby spotted my donations and asked, "How old is the baby now?" Surprised, I set my things down at the back of the truck and announced that he was 3. I smiled as I turned away. I felt nothing but proud. I remember how slowly the months ticked by during Erik's infancy, and time goes too fast now. No more counting months, weeks, days, minutes, or agonizing seconds, wishing for time to pass, waiting for things to get easier. I'm letting the past go. I need my strength for what lies ahead. The road ahead is going to be the most difficult one I have walked, but I'm ready for it. There are many mothers who have walked this exact path before.

I'm feeling fabulous these days not having to lug around an extra 35 pounds, and the dense brick of grief lodged in my skull that I described in my first posts feels even lighter. Sure, it's still incredibly heavy, but I'm accustomed to it now. It feels more like a natural extension of me, like one of my limbs, and less like a tumor or a foreign body inside of me like it used to. Even simple creatures like oysters learn how to make pearls out of the grains of sand that cruelly chafe at their delicate insides. There will likely always be grief, but I'm not drowning in it anymore. It's part of me, and it's important.

I believe I have come a long way since Erik was born in just about every way. I am still amazed that it's possible to feel this good again. In short, I'm myself again. I haven't really been me since I started this blog. I ran into Bev's (Erik's former therapist) friend at hippotherapy last week, and she told me how incredibly proud Bev was of me. My heart swelled when I heard that, because it has been a real struggle, but I'm making it, and people can see it now. I thought that this would be all about Erik, but I have gotten to know myself a lot better than I ever wanted to or imagined was possible. And now it's official...

I'm back, baby.

So standing at this fork in the road, I am unsure what to do next. I am now thinking about pouring this energy into some sort of book. However, there is so much story left to tell, so I'm torn.

In any event, I'm me again. I will never be the same, but it's clear that I'm not supposed to be.

What's important is that I'm me.

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Anonymous gua said...

It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear.
It’s not the way you do your hair,But it’s you I like.
The way you are right now
The way down deep inside you
Not the things that hide you
Not your diplomas...
They’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like,
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings,
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue,
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself, it’s you
It’s you I like!
Mr Rogers
(via Mom)

3:59 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

I think at the end of our lives we will be able to lay back and admire our pearl necklaces remembering the hard times and how we turned them into a thing of wonder. Love ya Nancy :)

4:32 PM  
Blogger camille said...

Wow, I love reading your posts. Thanks so much for sharing that. I'm glad you are feeling better these days. And Erik is doing some awesome stuff these days!! Congrats! That's fantastic news :)

6:09 PM  
Blogger All moments remembered said...

I love reading your blogs!! Nancy I can hardly wait to get my first book of yours autographed!! :)

I love the screwdriver name!! How special is that! I always did things for the kids bus driver. I remember one year I wrote a note to ours and said THANK YOU for always getting my kids back and forth safely! He was shocked and said NO one had ever said that to him before and he was getting ready to retire from driving buses.

I started something new on my site. I am getting donations for mini albums for kids with cancer. It is on the site at the very top under the heading Scrapbookers with heart. If you know anyone who wants to donate send them my way!!
Hugs to you,

6:39 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

You are woman and I hear you roar. I am proud to call you my friend. I am a firm believer that the circumstances we face in life mold us and continue to make us grow. If we let them they make us better stronger people. I think you have a wonderful attitude about the awful situation we have all been put in as parents of WS kids.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Love the post Nancy. My husband and I think your book would be fantastic - be it now or later. We would be the first in line to buy it!

8:15 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Celebrating with you and Erik!

This post is clearly a proclamation of your progress and the hope of tomorrow. You've certainly turned a corner, and it's good to see you whole and lighter! ;)

10:02 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I don't know what to say. It's nice to know YOU! :) xoxo

4:21 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

It amazes me that he is able to ride a bus by himself at 3 years old...there's no way I could have gotten my kids to do that. And the way he recognizes vehicles and who drove what, again, no way for my kids. I'm in awe of how smart and logical Erik is. What a great kid, and how far he has come is a great tribute to you and Brian.

5:42 AM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Nance ~ You have "NO IDEA" just how happy I am to read this. Eric is an extremely lucky little guy to have a mom like you! ~ jb///

6:19 AM  





6:31 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

It is good to meet the true you! Erik never ceases to amaze me, it makes me excited for the coming year to see Avery blossom like Erik has done so well.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

It's amazing how much has changed over the past year. You sound like a different person. I do believe, like others before me, what we go through shapes who we are. You have helped so many other people you probably don't even realize.

I am so sad not to see you at the convention, but I do beleive we shall catch up sooner rather than later ~ love you :)

7:09 AM  
Blogger Every minute counts.... said...

My plan is to be at the convention and we all have to meet in person!
I have a feeling there would be many tears and hugs to boot!!
I am so glad that you are feeling more like yourself...maybe it will rub off on me, and I can get back to myself...thank you for letting us share in your journey!


9:18 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

Funny I have been feeling the same way...I am back too...look out world

10:33 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

You write so beautifully and eloquently; thank you for sharing a piece of you with the world like this!

8:31 PM  

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