Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Oh The Humanity

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Oh The Humanity

The hot air balloon festival took place across town this weekend. This morning I opened the blinds and saw three of them drifting above the horizon. Erik pointed at each one and counted them for me. Knowing they always make their way on the breeze towards the desert beyond our house, I took Erik out onto the back porch and sat him in my lap while I enjoyed my first cup of coffee. As they rose into the sky, the silence was broken only by the distant sound of their powerful burners occasionally firing. From past experience, I knew that once they drifted over the house, I would be able to eavesdrop on the conversations the passengers were having. It is strange hearing words fall from a silent, blue sky like that. Soon the cool morning air bit me through my bathrobe, and I picked Erik up and carried him back into the house, telling him all I knew about hot air balloons.

A few minutes later, we heard a loud whoosh. Erik looked at me, alarmed. I stared back at him and listened. It stopped and then started again about three times, getting louder and louder each time. I knew they were closing in on us but realized the sound of the burners was never quite so loud before. I grabbed Erik and sprinted for the front door. We made it outside onto the front porch just in time to see the basket under a huge, red balloon come to rest next to the house. Cars and trucks began clogging the road edging our property and stopped to allow the people riding in them to gaze at the bizarre spectacle. A truck towing a large trailer with a picture of a similar balloon painted on the side came barreling down the other side of our property through the thickening confusion.

The people standing inside the basket looked at me, laughed, and said, "Good morning!"

Erik enthusiastically returned their greetings, and I realized I was still wearing only a bathrobe and fuzzy socks. Oh well. After we watched them wrestle with the thing in the breeze for a while, I went back inside and opened the blinds covering the bay window over the tub in the bathroom. By then, the crowd standing there had swelled to about 40 to 50 people. Gracie-Cat took one look at the giant orb and the people around it before her tail puffed to four times its normal size, and she slithered away with her stomach nearly touching the ground to hide under the bed. It seemed that the wind was such they could not take the balloon down without draping it over our house, so the burner fired, and up they went again. I looked upwards through the window and could see through the round hole in the bottom of the balloon. The basket went up after it and disappeared out of sight over us all.

How exciting is that?

I sat and finished the book on the daughter with WS today. It's tough knowing what to say about it, especially since the author could very well be reading this. I admit that it is definitely not the heartwarming story I was hoping for. The back reads, "Michelle’s story encourages every reader to overcome the overwhelming with the help of God to face Another Day, Another Challenge." I couldn't help but feel less than encouraged by what I read. While I admire this mother to no end and think she deserves every award known to man for her courage, persistence, and faith, I felt nothing but exhausted when I closed the book for the last time. It chronicles struggle after struggle, most of which are absolutely horrifying and only repeat themselves over and over, worsening in intensity. The book itself seems to end in the middle of it all during the most horrible scenario without a resolution in sight. If you are looking for a tidy ending, you won't get one here. I suppose there is never a tidy ending to anything. Life's pretty messy. She did her best to express her faith that God would provide strength and the tools to care for her daughter with WS in the end, but it was really disturbing to read. I'm extremely grateful I read it, would recommend it, and am proud to have it in my library but would definitely not recommend it to the newbies on this journey. In the end, I know that every child, WS or not, is different, and the challenges I have with Erik won't be the same as this family's. While I see similarities in our stories, I had to remind myself that she was telling her own personal story, not mine, and that the future is still very unknown for our family. The most important thing I took from it is how to fight for my child in the outside world and get people to listen. Even the ones who don't want to. I will never forget Michelle or her family and wish them nothing but happiness in the future. I hope that she somehow shares an update on their lives soon.

I spent the last part of my day with a couple friends on the front porch sipping cold beer and watching our kids play. I shook off the heartache I had from reading the book and soaked up some sunshine for a while. My friend with ALS stopped by to stoop down and play with the kids, making us laugh in the process, until his face and body betrayed him, silently communicating to me how much agony he was experiencing. He hugged us and left, leaving behind blissfully happy children and me fighting back tears.

I guess life is pretty darn messy.

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Blogger Julie said...

So you don't recommend me getting this book to take to the beach.:) Wow my kids would have been so excited if a giant balloon landed in our yard.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Auntie Dee~ta said...

I was telling the boys about the hot air balloons and that one actually landed on your property! You will not believe this one... they asked with such excitement, "what did Erik think about going up in the balloon?" I told them that nooooo Erik did not go up and they were sooooo puzzled... the balloon stopped by so why not give Erik a ride they were right there! Little boys and their imaginations... to cute!!!

It sounds like you are doing good and things at home are going just as well! Hope Brian caught a BIG fish to show Erik!

Always in my thoughts & prayers!

8:26 AM  

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