Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Shush

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I have a moment to myself before the morning routine begins.

Work is very light this week, which means I have had a lot of time to think. This probably isn't a good thing. A bored Nancy is a dangerous Nancy, indeed. However, I am enjoying my time off and am almost ready for Christmas. If all goes as planned, we will have a house full of people. It has been nearly two years since I have seen my brother and his wife, and I am beyond excited for them to see Erik as a toddler. He was an adorable little blob when they saw him last.

My thoughts --

I'm terrified of gaining all of the weight I lost back, although I have been successfully keeping it off and remain in my new dress size. I haven't been this size since college. My wedding dress is even too big. It was a complete surprise to me that keeping weight off is far more difficult than losing it. Thankfully, I have the tools on line to keep a food journal and can tweak my diet accordingly to keep myself on track. I am still working out daily and plan on continuing this habit forever. My fears seem silly now that I type about them, but I can't express how much I never want to go back to the way I was ever again. My neighbor and I went out on Saturday to the local tavern to play video poker and hang out with some of her friends, and they were all very sweet to me in terms of what I have accomplished. Moments like these help me realize how hard I have worked and how far I have come. I was shocked to see that I now have those freaky, bulging muscles on my shins my mother has always had.

As for the girl I am inside, I would love to evict her sometimes. Lately I have become more closed in terms of sharing my emotions because I no longer want to expose them to the light for all to see. Keeping an online journal is difficult, and after a while I find myself saying the same things over and over. I can only imagine how crazy my readers think I am. At least you all are too polite to say anything. I made a promise to myself to keep going at least until the two-year mark next spring. I have nearly 400 posts now. Can you believe it? I can feel myself approaching my limit, though, in terms of opening the door and making myself vulnerable on an almost daily basis. Looking back, I'm amazed at what has come out here and the sheer volume of what I have said. I am just getting to the point where I don't want to talk about me anymore. If you read this, you know me pretty well.

In short, I have finally come to the shocking conclusion that I will never "get over" the fact my son is mentally retarded. Ever. Don't get me wrong -- I love him for who he is. I understand almost everything about him and believe I have accepted what my reality is now. I have been told by others that someday I won't want to change anything about him. I smile at this but deep inside I fight the urge to let my fist fly out and shatter their noses. Even if this were true, I don't want to hear it, especially from someone with a typical child. The fact is, I hate WS because I don't want my kid to suffer. To be ridiculed. To be different. Pure and simple. Yesterday he smiled at me, and my heart simply melted. He gets cuter and cuter every day. I love his laugh, the way he wraps his arms around my neck, and his raspy baby breath in my ear. I love the way he comes up to me and announces the names of construction equipment with so much panache (KOMATSU! SKID STEER! TRACK EXCAVATOR!). He is different, pure and simple, from other children. I am simply mourning the fact I will likely never become a grandmother or watch my son actually enjoy himself on a playground. There is a lot of fun I will never get to experience, and it pisses me off. There is just no other way to say it: This sucks a lot of the time.

It has taken me almost two years to get to this point, and I feel horrible for those on this path behind me who just began their own journeys. So much for wisdom from this source. Barbara, my new author-friend, told me that the pain inside will never fade completely. I will just learn to live with it and need to find things that bring me joy or an outlet for my pain. I have very succcessfully learned to live with what's inside my heart and mind on a day-by-day basis. I guess I'm getting to a point where I don't want the pain to have a voice anymore. I just want it to shut up and sit in the back row so I don't have to listen to it. That's a real step forward for me. There are a lot of other things going on in my brain that are more important that I need to deal with. Things like how to keep the dinner I made from bursting into flames in the pan in front of me. How much gas is required in the car to get me and Erik across town to school in the morning. How to successfully remove a curry stain from my shirt sleeve. Things like that.

Now that I read back over what I wrote, it doesn't seem as negative as I thought it would. I'm getting to a point where I don't want to talk about it because I have talked it to death. I can see that the next step is to find a balance between thinking about WS constantly and shoving it down inside of me only to have it bite me in the ass emotinoally at a later date. Neither is good, in my opinion.

So there you have it. My state of mind. December is probably the worst month of the year for me emotionally. My least favorite holiday is New Year's Eve. If I can get to January 1st, I'm always golden. I'm almost there. While I look forward to celebrating Christmas, I'm really looking forward to 2008 and beginning a brand new chapter.

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Blogger Julie said...


I do not think you are crazy. You say the things I am feeling but I could never write them like you do. I say things to you guys that I would never say to my family and friends, sometimes not even my own husband. I feel like they get tired of hearing the same old and they think I am obsessing. Maybe I am but this is part of our lives daily. I hope you don't quit blogging. If you don't want to write as often please write periodically to update us on your life and Eriks progress. I love you guys and hope you have a wonderful holidays season.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Every minute counts.... said...

You will make it! I too hope for Jan first every year. If I can just make it to the new year it is like a fresh start...right?
I have worried myself lately about the weight that I normal loss before the holidays so I don't feel so bad about the gaining back that I do...this year I have lost none, actually gained some really and it worries me. I think it just adds to my already gloomy mood. Maybe I need a new hairdo, that always seems to help!! Okay now I'm rambling sorry...
Thank you for all that you have shared. It really has been nice getting to know you and your family!


7:35 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Nancy, The next stage of acceptance will come when IT is ready. I'm not there yet myself. After 10 yrs. I should be getting there. I'm not worrying about it though. It will happen when the time is right. Good luck.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Gua said...

Whew. That was quite a post. I was so relieved when you started writing again. It's been such an important part of your life for many years. And your post has been a good way for me to know what's going on without pressing you-- and so we could talk about other things, too.
Of course, the first thing I (or any other bloggers) think is how my life would be affected with the loss of Heart of a Family. It's been an important part of my daily life since it began 400 posts ago!
The next thing I think is how thankful I am that you've shared all of this with me, and that I've gained so much. That will never change.
Of course, most important;yyou should do what's best for you, which then becomes what's best for you as Erik's mom and Brian's wife, and that you must do what is best for your head and heart. My blessing goes to you whatever you do.
Meanwhile, I'll remain one of many devoted readers!

Love, Mom

P.S. Freaky, bulging muscles???

7:52 AM  
Blogger Penny said...


I hope that you do what is best for you and I hope you find your peace.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Teresa & Shawn said...

I don't comment as much anymore because you know how busy life is. But I read faithfully, and thought that was a beautiful post and wonderfully-said. Be proud of how far you have come, how much you have gained, (and how much you have lost!) in two years. Eric is blessed to have such an amazing mother.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

I read this post the other day but am only now commenting after thinking a bit more. If you were sitting in front of me, I would probably say more to you :) but I am always thinking of you. I think these past two years have been an incredible and "unexpected journey" (hehehe) and I'm not sure how I would have fared without your words and prayers out there. You hve accomplished so much in udnerstanding, and I'm not sure what words you would have given to that Nancy two years back, but she wouldn't have listened anyway :).

I hope you do continue to blog, even past my selfish reasons for wanting you to, I think it does help you move past some things that are so hard. My New Year's Eves are not the most exciting either ~ how about you guys hop a plane and come one over? ;)

10:34 AM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Thanks for sharing your life and journey with WS. I'm blessed to be here!

9:37 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I'm glad you shared what you did, often times I've felt alone with my own thoughts and feelings thinking something was wrong with me for feeling that way. I've heard many many parents say they wouldn't change their child for anything and everything along those lines. I've always felt like the silent minority. Because, like you, I do love Kayla for who she is and have accepted it, but I think I would change things if I could, this isn't something I would wish for Kayla to have. It's hard to think about her future, what it might hold, how she might be treated - all of those things. So just thank you, thank you for opening up and showing your vulnerable side because I feel much the same way.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Matt said...


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9:50 AM  

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