You start the day in parent mode. First thing this morning, you advise Quinn, “I want you to have fun today. Do your best and have fun that’s all that anyone could ever want. I am very proud of you.” Quinn smiles and says “I'll do my best.”
We actually got to the meet a few minutes into the warm-up period. As we get in the door, Quinn pauses and says to us in a serious parent like tone, “When I’m on the floor, don’t try to get me to leave the floor because I’m not allowed to leave and I shouldn’t be distracted.”
In past meets, we would try to see how many times we can get Quinn to wave to us during the event. I guess those days are numbered – he is growing up. We watched and I tried to videotape Quinn doing his events. Quinn did do his best and was quite pleased. So pleased that he actually took a moment to wave to us a few times. He was rewarded for his efforts with a ribbon for the pommel horse and a Dairy Queen lunch with us. He had a good morning.
We met up with Tara when we got back into town. Her choir, the Truro Youth Singers, performed at the church. She wanted to see Quinn do his thing but was torn about the commitment to the choir. When it came down to it, she chose the choir. Although I’m sad she missed seeing Quinn’s meet, I’m glad that she has a strong sense of commitment to the choir. After all a choir is a team thing.
I suggest in the afternoon that you help Quinn make the devil sticks. You don’t want to do devil sticks with Quinn. “I am useless I can’t help him.” You say. You can’t imagine how you will be a role model to the children when you can’t find the drive to do a simple thing like oversee a project like this.
The other day, I had suggested that Tara could go to a movie this afternoon. When it became obvious that I can’t leave you alone for fear of you trying to get up by yourself and falling. (you have done this twice now – when I’m out of the room.) I had to renege on my offer of a movie. Tara couldn’t take this decision without complaint. She has wanted to do things with her friends for months now. I have been putting her off, saying, “It is just for now, when Daddy is home, life will get more normal.”
“Well, Daddy is home and I still can’t do things with my friends.” She cries. I explain that we have all had to make sacrifices and that she would have to be patient. I said she should consider the sacrifices that you had made just to live. This just frustrated her more and she stomped off to her room. She is angry at you and angry with me.
You start to sob about being a burden. Quinn puts his arm around you and tell you, “We want you in our lives Daddy. We want you here for us. You are still the same Daddy. We love you.” Quinn’s kind and supportive words without tears seemed very grown up. This is our sensitive little boy, who would cry and not know why at other times. Now he is supporting you.
I could hear Tara’s crying in her room. I go to her – she doesn’t want to talk. Finally she does. Tara feels like an outsider – not able to go to the movie and then we all missed her in the choir performance. We both have a good cry. As I am trying to collect myself, Quinn comes and reaches out with open arms ready to give a good strong back-patting hug.
Tara’s melt down lead to your and my meltdowns. Quinn carried us through it all with hugs and positive thoughts. He is a seven year old adult.
The children and I recover from our weak moment and continue with our day. You can’t climb out of your despair. You start to cycle through the ‘I don’t want to be a burden’ dialogue again.
We all have bad moments and times of weakness. That’s way we need each other… to help the other through the rough times. Today was Quinn’s day to carry us. Tomorrow it will be someone else. We are all here for each other. It is a team thing.
Shortly after this, Erin arrives at the door, as if sent by a divine power, she comes to your side to hear your worries and help you deal with them. Within a few minutes, Harold arrives and he sits beside you with his arm around your shoulders, lending an ear and a thoughtful voice to your fears. Being a fellow survivor who also knows the pull of cigarettes, he can identify with your feelings.
What gives us meaning in life? Some might say being essential to another’s wellbeing is what makes us human. I think that is a trait shared by all animals but it is something that humans tend to forget but it is the healthy part to any relationship.
By the evening, I find you and Tara are cuddled in your chair. It’s bedtime for Tara but I didn’t have the heart to pull her away. The two of you had made up.
On Friday’s Tara and Quinn joined a running club at the school thanks to Karen, a teacher at the school who watches over Tara and Quinn on Fridays. This week they were given handbooks to read over about living a healthy active life. Being a detail oriented person, Tara has started to fill in the diary section that tracks what she eats and the activities that she does. You are proud of Tara for being so diligent. “If you run 20 km then I will give you my GPS watch.” You tell her.
She is happy now, She has a short term goal.