Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Every Single Morning

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Every Single Morning

I hear Erik talking to himself in his bedroom, and I open his door, which squeaks like an injured mouse. I wince. At first, there is no movement from his bed in the dimness of the room, but his little blond head suddenly pops up, buoyant with curiosity, to determine who has just entered. I make my way across the impressive debris field of toys created before he decided to finally go to sleep the night before. I lean down and crawl around the rail to lie next to him in his tiny bed. I do this every single morning.

"Hi, Mama!"

"Hi, Skooby. Hey, gimmie some pillow. And some blanket, too."

He giggles as I make a giant fuss getting comfortable, jostling him around excessively, grunting, and rudely yanking our favorite oversized baby blanket towards me. I notice that it appears as if he is beginning to actually use the blanket while he sleeps. That's new. I throw my left arm over him and draw him close to my body as if I am slow dancing with the tiniest prom date in the world. He is quiet for just a moment, and his quick breaths tickle my cheek. He begins speaking about trucks, and, as I do every single morning, I wonder what my kid's dreams are made of.

He allows me to hold him like this for some time, and we have the same discussion we always have at this time of day. He names every piece of construction equipment he can, and then he says the same two words to me. They are deliberate and form a statement, but I know him well enough that they really make up a hopeful question, and I answer him accordingly. We do this every single morning.

"Daddy's home."

"Yes, Erik, Daddy's home," I answer. "He's in bed. Stay a bit and cuddle with your mama. You can't go right now because I love you."

He tries his best to lie still while I hold him as tight as I can without crushing his little body. Not knowing what else to do, he starts another familiar monologue as if he is reading from a script he keeps hidden beneath the mattress. As I hear the exact same words on yet another morning, over and over, I feel a squeezing ache inside my chest. I listen to his beautiful little voice and begin wondering what other children his age talk about in the morning. I honestly don't know. The words he chooses and the way he uses them sometimes seem strange, but I couldn't explain how if I tried.

I do this every single morning.

My thoughts are shattered by a pair of large feet kicking in footie pajamas. It appears as if he is attempting to swim away from me. As I reluctantly loosen my grip on him, his coltish legs swing around effortlessly in order for him to back out around the gate out of bed.

He says, "Thank you, Mama."

"You're welcome. Hey, Erik, I love you so much."

He grabs the reeking, drool-soaked carcass of his favorite stuffed animal, Stinky Dog, and crams whats left of its syphilic-looking nose into his mouth. He shakes his head back and forth, loving the poor thing violently as he begins to go find his father.

He pauses just long enough to respond. He removes the soggy animal from his mouth. A smile stretches across his face, and his eyes squint nearly shut. I'm surprised to see this expression appear in the middle of our strange morning ritual. This certainly isn't in the script. I see the same rare, joy-filled, angel-channeling expression overtake him just as it does when he sings a song with his whole body.

He replies, "I LOVE YOU, TOOOOOO!"

Labels: , ,

9 Comments:

Blogger Julie said...

How sweet. It is nice to have those moments with our kids. I know what you mean about wondering what other kids his age are doing. Just the other night I was lying with Noah in bed and I wondered what he would be like by now if he didn't have WS. Would he be speaking full sentences? Would he be able to feed himself his entire meal without using his hands? Among other things. Then I thought, to make him typical might take away some of the things I love about him. I hate this syndrome. I hate how delayed he is both physically and mentally. I hate that he has health issues. But I love him and really wouldn't change him one bit. It is hard to not wonder though, huh?

9:50 AM  
Blogger camille said...

Aww, I love reading about these moments. So so sweet. And that you call him, "skooby!" Soooo cute! I can see myself doing the same thing, making a giant fuss trying to make myself all comfy in his bed and him cracking up. Just today at an awesome consignment sale I found reeeally cute (and brand spanking new) bedding for when we switch him to a twin bed. When did you switch Erik? And how did that go? Any words of wisdom?

1:46 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

That is really cute Nancy, and very, very special. We start most of our mornings out with a cuddle and some one sided, repetative conversation which always ends with a "Dad's Home?" as well. If Dad isn't home Caleb is usually heartbroken, runs to the door with tears, and yells out into the dark morning "I love you Dad!!" with his veins popping out the side of his neck. I can't lie. I selfishly love that he still cuddles with me and is so affectionate with the family. I also wonder what he would be like if not for the WS. I think we all do. If they would find a cure for Williams syndrome tomorrow, I would be the first in line. I have such a love hate relationship with it. I just want life to be easy for him.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous joshua's mum said...

I think Joshua(2 yr WS) has the same script as Erik. Some of Joshua's common words and phrases are Daddy home, cuggle(cuddle), thankyou, Hello, I whuve you, What?, WOW,Oh-o, Yep and yeah.

I have three older girls and I can't remember what they said at this age but they definately didn't say excuse me to shop -keepers from their stroller at the age of two!

Thanks again for your Blog Nancy you have such a gift for touching people with your writing.

Anne

6:53 PM  
Blogger Kim, Grandma to Ava,ws said...

Mmmmm, yummy. I love those moments.

4:32 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Keith and I have a ritual every morning too. I love this time. I bet you loved to hear him say he loves you. I remember the first time I heard it. I wondered if I ever would. You will never get tired of haering it

1:37 PM  
Blogger Every minute counts.... said...

I love the way you write!! It always makes me feel like I am right there. There are so many things to wonder about what could have been, but it is kind of nice to have the here and now the way it is too. Abi has similar conversations, very complex and still just a little off.

Thank you for sharing your morning with us,
Noel

1:50 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

I loved this post... it's like we're little flies on your wall. :)

6:19 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

Amazing. You touch a heart like no one I know. You are simply amazing. Thank you for sharing this with us.

7:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home