Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Duets

Friday, December 14, 2007


Erik and I recently discovered the joy of singing songs in unison. He would previously immediately cease singing if I joined in, but now his confidence level and his memory of many lyrics have made it possible for him to just belt out whatever is in his heart without hesitation. He looked surprised and pleased the first time we sang an entire song together.

We sang "Happy Birthday," easily his favorite song, to everyone we could think of last night, including ourselves, over and over until we giggled and couldn't sing anymore. Towards the end of each round, he would very slowly pick his thick, strong hands up from his lap and hold them in the air, ready for enthusiastic applause and a few "yays" for each of our friends and family members as we finished each song.

I'm fairly good with words, but it's difficult for me to explain how I feel about doing this with him. The look that washes over his face while he sings actually disturbed me at first, because it almost appears as if he is suddenly possessed by someone else--an older boy whom I have never met. His smile widens, exposing the adorable collection of his baby-white teeth, including the cute little points of his incisors, his blue-gray eyes squint until they are practically closed, hiding their beautiful, lacy starbursts, and his slightly raspy voice begins to boom out with newly-found confidence, a little on the monotone side but filled with nothing but pure joy. I have not seen this particular expression on his face at any other time. Now that he has discovered he can sing along with his old mom, I feel like I am sharing something new and extremely special with him. It took me many painful months to really bond with this child after he came into this world, and I accept each and every one of these moments gladly and with open arms. I'm sure it sounds over-the-top corny, but I feel as if I am in the midst of something almost holy and magical when he sings in this blissful state. I have read stacks of studies about music and the brains of those with WS, but witnessing the connection actually happen is quite easily enough to cover me in a layer of goosebumps. I am far from the most religious person in the world, but Erik seems to be my own personal window into what heaven must be like--what it just HAS to be like. Joy like this isn't created by some random genetic accident. Or is it?

We are planning on singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus this Christmas. If there is a better, more appropriate way to celebrate the holiday, I honestly don't know what it could possibly be.

He'll be the squinty-eyed, blond angel smiling from ear to ear. I'll be the one with tears running down my face trying to sing along.

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Blogger Penny said...

I am in made me cry. Just beautiful

3:54 PM  
Blogger camille said...

That was SO lovely to read. Thanks for putting a smile on my face, I needed that today.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

Aha! Just what we need to hear on your recording!! Please :):):):)

I LOVE the picture!

7:03 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Precious! Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye."

(1943) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Little Prince

9:30 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Oh Nancy, how very beautiful!
Eric is such a gift.

3:29 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Happy Birthday to Jesus is a tradition here as well.
I'm so glad you are getting to experience these things. They don't stop Nancy. Everyday is some new little miracle. Wait till he sings with you in harmony in perfect key! It's amazing :) and I'm sure he will. He is an angel.. I love that little guy of yours. Oh and I love that picture. Caleb is still completely obsessed with fire trucks. He is getting several for Christmas. Also books with pictures. He used to be totally freaked out by them too. That has passed and it will for Erik also.
check out for books with lots of pictures. That helped Caleb get over his fear.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Happy Birthday to Jesus sounds like a wonderful tradition. Eric is so sweet.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

goosebumps here! Kayla sang happy birthday Jesus at our MOPS meeting this week - the 3-5 yr olds perform a few songs for our group's Christmas program :) What a sweet picture too!

1:22 PM  
Blogger Every minute counts.... said...

I too have witnessed the same sort of "miracle" for lack of a better word. Music does amazing things!!


10:10 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

You are so right - it's amazing when you actually see what music does for these children. Your post gave me goosebumps. Payton's favorite song is happy birthday too....and boy does she sing it loud!!!! I love it - so glad that Erik loves to sing too.

12:17 PM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

What a darling picture of Erik! TOO CUTE! Thx for sharing! ~ jb///

1:19 PM  
Blogger Aspen said...

I am absolutely crying! When Daven and I sing (which is me singing since he isn't talking or singing yet) I see that same face. His eyes light up, his smile lights up, and like you said...pure joy shines bright! Only recently have I decided that Daven is my direct line of communication to the heavens. I simply see Daven as an angel now and I feel that we are blessed to be in his presence.

Thanks again for the tears you always bring out. I love you so very much.

12:48 PM  

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