Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Emergency Celebration

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Emergency Celebration

Erik turns 4 on Tuesday, but we celebrated his birthday yesterday. I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to count down the days with Erik, as he truly understands what birthdays are this year and was excited about who was coming to visit. The theme for this year's party was emergency vehicles. We had a full house, even though some of Erik's biggest fans were unable to attend. I find myself daring to invite more children with each passing year, as Erik handles the extra activity and noise with more and more grace. He did beautifully, and many people commented on how much he has matured. I certainly felt as if everyone here was celebrating all of our hard work over the last year with us. I was incredibly excited to see Bev, the woman who worked with Erik in our home those dark first months, at our door. She misses Erik immensely now that he has moved on to preschool and was able to stay for most of the party. The cake was yet another incredible confection sculpted with love by my parents. It was shaped like a bright red ambulance, complete with working lights and siren. Erik was absolutely thrilled. It soon became mildly dimpled with fingerprints from Erik and the other partygoers of shorter stature who admired it on their way by.

One of my friends from my old job at the clinic offered to arrange for an ambulance to come to the house. I received a text message providing a heads up that they were blocks away, and I quickly told everyone inside to gather on the front porch. There is nothing quite like a group of adults holding wine glasses cheering on an approaching ambulance. We giggled and hoorayed with gusto as it approached with its spasmodic lights piercing the slightly gloomy afternoon. The neighbors probably thought that one of my wild parties had finally claimed a life. The kids were amazed and ran without hesitation to greet my friend and the slightly bashful EMT driving. The back doors were opened wide, and Erik was coaxed inside. Erik stood next to the stretcher and said, "Look at YOU on that ambulance!" He cautiously inspected everything, including the vehicle's undercarriage, by the time we headed back inside to feast on pizza. It was a very surreal and oddly festive sight to behold.

We then sliced into the cake. The candles were no match for Erik's lung power. He unwrapped presents for the first time, encouraged and guided a little by Brian this year. It was good to see him actually tearing wrapping paper and being interested in what was inside the boxes, not just the boxes themselves. He enjoyed the kids and adults around him and understood that it was his day. Towards the end of the party he played with the other children in his bedroom, although they mostly played around him and asked him to join them in their very imaginative games. Erik said goodbye as each of them left, and the sweet, strange formality of his words made us smile.

I was a little emotional today. After some of the stress that comes with planning an event like this finally lifted and all was said and done, I realized we had been given the best gift of all: A rare day of feeling almost completely NORMAL.


(Videos and slide show coming soon)

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Anonymous John Andrew said...

Can't wait to see pictures, Nance!

HBDTY, Erik!

9:50 AM  
Blogger camille said...

YAAAAAAAAAAAY! Nancy, that's amazing. Feeling almost normal! I can't imagine that ever happening but love love love reading that you are experiencing this with Erik now. What a long way you've come with him. Congratulations :) And goooooo, Erik!

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Jean Claude said...

I cannot help but smile as I read through your post regarding Erik's Bday. Reading how well Erik is doing and how far he, and you, have come certainly gives me a reason to celebrate. You have worked hard to support Erik so that he can be successful as he faces this world and finds he place within it. You are a wonderful example of what hard work, dedication and unconditional love can do.

I am certain that the arrival of the ambulance gave any nosy neighbors you might have something to talk about. I can just see them peeking out of their windows watching the commotion trying to figure out who was going to the hospital only to be met by a crowd of festive partiers. That would have been something to see for sure.

Thank you for having the courage to open up your heart here on this blog and for being a bright spot to those who read your words.

Nancy you are an amazing person and mother and you possess a strength spirit that is rare and wonderful indeed.

I wish you only the best and I tip my hat to you and Erik.

Jean Claude

1:29 PM  
Blogger Guanogirl said...

Happy Birthday. Sounds like a great party. Way to go Mom.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

That is just awesome!!

Happy Birthday Erik!

6:36 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Okay you have just made my cake and ice cream parties sound totally lame.:) Tell Erik "Happy Tuesday" from Noah. Sorry, but that is what it sounds like when he sings it.:)

7:10 PM  
Blogger Lizard Eater said...

YOU are an amazing mother!

10:09 PM  
Blogger Noel said...

Happy birthday Erik.
I too can't wait for the pictures.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I think Caleb would have pooped his pants if an ambulance came down our driveway!:)

5:42 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I can't wait to see pics and video :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIK!!!!!

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Erik's Auntie Cinnamon said...

Hey Girl!

Thanks for calling me and giving me all the details of the party! I feel like I was there! :)

It so warms my heart that Erik was so involved in his birthday this year, from poking his fingers into the cake, to playing with his friends, getting in the ambulance and OPENING presents!!! Uncle Brad and I are soooo proud of Erik and of all the hard work Brian and you put into Erik!!!

Waiting anxiously to see photos and video!!

BIG Hugs,
Auntie Cinnamon~

Brayden wants Erik's Gua and Boppa to make him a birthday cake one year...perhaps that is your calling for your mom and you... open a bakery!!! :)

8:03 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

What a nice day!

Michaela sends a GIANT birthday hug to Erik!!

10:35 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Happy Birthday Erik!! Hope you have an amazing day, although I don't think it can top that party.

Congrats to you, mom. Those moments of feeling "normal" are priceless.

11:18 AM  
Blogger jbgrinch said...

what a great day for both of you, A big step to have kids there and to have eric playing there with them. Hope, my daughter didnt feel good in situations like that till she was six. Have a gra t week and say happy birthday to eric for me

11:47 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

So happy Erik enjoyed his Pre-Bday Party. Can't wait until you post the pictures!!!!

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in total agreement with Jean Claude.



7:07 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

:):) I have no comment, just big smiles over here. What a great day :):)

6:28 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

Oh my gosh. What a wonderful day! I'm thrilled to hear it was great for EVERYONE. And...four years old, wow. I can't imagine the cake, can't wait for pictures.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Wow, that sounds great! Happy Bday Erik!!!! Thank you for the WS cards, mwah!

1:30 PM  
Blogger Ava Jewel Leilani said...

Ok again you had me cracking up over here, just pictured ya all outside drinking wine and your neighbors peeking out their windows.

Can't wait to see pics and videos. (wow nancy you remember normal wink wink)

Happy Happy Birthday to you to you to you Happy Birthday ERIK!!!

All so Nancy do you think you could email me your address?

8:32 PM  

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