Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Mirror Images

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mirror Images

After I had been awake for a couple hours today, I worked out. Hard. I could actually feel my pulse in my eyeballs. I was bound and determined to sweat the blues out of me, at least temporarily. I then took a long, lukewarm shower. One of the two WS families I know in the state rented a house in a resort south of town for the New Year's holiday and had previously invited me to call their cell phone to make arrangements to meet. Because this is such a special opportunity for our family that only rarely makes itself available, I sat down after I could speak in complete sentences again and dialed their number, arranging a visit in the afternoon. Just hearing Heather's voice immediately lifted my spirits. I told Erik we were going to see Sophie, and he seemed unusually excited. I put him down for an early nap, but after he rolled around playing with toys on his floor for an hour, I went in to check on him and he said, "Go see Sophie." I sprung him from his room, told Brian we were itching to go, and loaded the car. We had to drive just 20 minutes, but the pathetic film of wet snow we have been trying to maintain here progressively thickened into a fluffy blanket with each mile and began to encroach on the road. By the time we arrived, the landscape looked like winter did here in the old days, and we located their cabinlike rental nestled in lanky, towering pine trees.

Our visit was truly enjoyable. There were two other couples and their (typical) children staying there for vacation whom we had previously met at Sophie's Run, the yearly 5K race for Sophie and Williams syndrome awareness. Because the race is so incredibly busy for all of us and our extended families, we have not had much of a chance to sit down and talk about whatever we wanted in a quiet setting. Erik was a bit edgy around the two babies present but soon warmed up and was singing and chatting, putting his hand up to feel the texture of Nate's goatee and getting his hands in modeling clay with the two older girls. It was a wonderful, relaxing afternoon. Once Erik began to wilt, we decided to head home, promising to meet again at the run in just four short months.

On the way home, we decided we were hungry and that deep-fried jalapeno wontons from our favorite roadhouse sounded wonderful. We risked a meltdown from our exhausted son, sat down at a table, and ordered our favorite dishes. Erik lasted maybe 10 to 15 minutes before I found myself walking him around the restaurant. A small cup of primary-colored crayons and a children's menu are less than tempting to Erik. When we tried to settle back into our seats, he was absolutely furious and wanted to go home. I sucked what I could of my mixed drink from its giant Mason jar through a straw like a rabid hummingbird and grabbed Erik. We jogged to the car, and I put the Scooby Doo theme song on the stereo. We listened to it approximately 12 times while Brian paid our check and had our dinners boxed up to take home. The waitress, not knowing how exhausted Erik was or exactly why we were leaving, assumed it was their fault and gave us five dollars off our meals. Score.

We are all winding down now. Erik had a short nap while we ravaged our meals like happy animals in front of the television, and I am relaxed once again. I'm looking forward to the New Year and starting anew. The end of any year just isn't my idea of a great time and never has been. I hate looking back at the year, no matter what my situation is, and would like to begin looking forward. However, I'm extremely thankful for this afternoon.

I can't believe it. It ended up being a great day after all.

Sophie and Erik. We neglected to get a photo until we were on our way out the door. Sophie is 5 years old and thriving in every way, and Erik is nearly as tall as she is! This must be due to all of the peanut butter sandwiches I keep feeding him. And the fact Erik is wearing thick-soled shoes and orthotics. Still, he's a tall drink of water.

Erik in the car in the restuarant parking lot listening to the Scooby Doo theme song. That's funny--he wasn't this cheerful inside the restaurant mere minutes before this photo was taken.

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Blogger Kerry said...

So glad you were able to get out and have some family time with friends. It is so good to be ablt to chill out with people who understand where you are coming from.

Jalapeno wontons? My arteries just jolted a little reading that :) You would have a hard time eating dinner with my husband - Mr Meat and Potatoes Irish Man. His favorite exotic dish is Onion dip. :)

9:21 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

It sounds like you all had a wonderful visit. It's so nice t be able to visit with other families.

My sister-in-law swears by the portable dvd player in restaurants! I wish they had them when Michaela was little, it would have saved my a lot of walking laps until the meal came and the indigestion that came from inhaling my meal before she could get restless again! I don't think I actually tasted a restaurant meal until she was 5!

4:24 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Glad you got a visit with Sofi and family!
Nancy, it does take awhile, but it surely does get easier.
There were times when I had to leave whole shopping carts full of groceries. Then it came to the point where I just didn't take him anywhere. Now, he is my little buddy. I never hesitate anymore. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I just can't believe the change! okay it's not always peaches and cream, but You have so much to look forward to. :)

5:51 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

MMMMMMMMMMMM jalapeno wontons, they sound wonderful. I am so glad, yet envious, that you got to get together with another family. It is rare for us. Hope you start sleeping soon. To bad we didn't live close. I would be over with a pitcher of sangria within minutes. Have a happy new year!!

10:11 AM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

So glad you made the effort to venture out and enjoy the day.

Great pics!

I agree, restaurants should rethink the coloring sheet and crayons.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Every minute counts.... said...

I am glad that you got to meet with another family again. It sounds like you had a good time! And totally bonus at the $5 off !!!

Happy New Year,

2:25 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

I love that picture of Erik in the car seat. his little head tilted and that beautiful smile. How could that not melt your heart. He is just precious.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I'm glad to hear you had such a great afternoon with this other family!

I very rarely eat out in restaurants w/Kayla anymore - those crayons and kids' menus don't do much for her either! She just can't sit still and nothing I bring will occupy her long enough for us to enjoy a meal!

happy new year!

7:58 PM  

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