Monday, December 27, 2010


Right now I am at The San Diego Children's Hospital waiting for Andrew to get out of surgery. He is getting an ear tumor removed. The medical name for the growth is long and contains a g or maybe a c and is hard to pronounce. However, the technical name sounds far less dismal than tumor.

It's benign and essentially no big deal other than the idea that it is getting in the way of his hearing. So here we are on a cloudy Monday afternoon waiting for the news that the little guy is okay.

In the waiting room, four seats down a man is holding a copy of the Reader story I wrote about TJ. IT makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I have never been in the presence of a stranger reading from a magazine with my face on it. My photo is plastered just underneath his left thumb. I can't help staring at him wondering what he thinks and if he is reading my article or the help wanted ads?

A couple of hours ago Andrew and I were in a small room, he was reading a thick novel I just bought him for Christmas and I was watching the Rachel Zoe project. The anesthesiologist came in to discuss the procedure with us. He had a mole on his left eyelid. It made him look gentle like a guy with make-up on or someone unashamed to wear a kilt. While he explained what would happen during the surgery I stared at his small round freckle.

Ten minutes later a nurse in zebra print clogs walked Andrew down a long hallway. Half of his back was exposed from the hospital pajamas he was wearing that featured sleeping tigers. Andrew looked back and waved quickly before disappearing down the corridor.

Now I wait, anxious to see him. No matter how routine the surgery is I am still worried and won’t feel comfortable until I see his face.

Family Photos

I am vehemently against studio portraits. I think they’re dripping with cheesiness. However, that very well maybe due to the fact that my parents had a framed photo of the three of us kids (Michelle, Roger, and I) hanging in their bedroom. At first glance it was adorable. My sister and I are both wearing puffy dresses and Roger was sporting a nice stripped polo. On further inspection you will notice that my hand is planted firmly inside my diaper. The photo was source of perpetual embarrassment. Oddly I never mentioned how offensive I found it until was in my late teens at which point my mom explained that I had a diaper rash or bladder infection or some similar aliment. “Every shot they took, your hand was inside your diaper. Other than the placement of your hand the photo was cute.” I would disagree with that statement.

This year instead of opting for a JcPenny Picture Studio photo with a blue or forest themed backdrop my friend Nicole and I took turns taking pictures of each other’s families. I am really happy with the results. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shoot em Up

When the boys were toddlers I had a strict anti-gun toy rule in my home. They were not allowed in my house ever! Aaron’s brothers have never believed in this rule and without fail always ended up buying them some wildly inappropriate plastic toy gun for birthdays or as Christmas gifts. I would always throw them away.

Andrew and Jacob used to chew their sandwiches into the shapes of guns and run around pretending to shoot each other. They would fashion just about anything into a gun. It appeared my ban on toy guns was futile.

When Andrew was 5 we moved to a new home. There were so many kids in our neighborhood that it was like a 24 hour amusement park. Many of the kids had toy guns. I eventually gave in about the guns. Now I don’t care so much, also they are old enough  that the allure of playing with such things is pretty much gone.

Last Sunday we had Conrad and Jesse over to celebrate Jake’s birthday. We ate cake, and sang Happy Birthday, and then Jake opened his gifts. Conrad bought him Call of Duty, a game in which you shoot people.  Jesse bought him a bb gun.

Can you believe that!?

Forget about my toy gun rule now my kid has a real one!

Aaron tried to pull the same stunt with Andrew on his tenth birthday. He called me from the store to alert me that he was purchasing our kid a bb gun. I told him that if he came home with such a thing he might as well get used to the idea of sleeping on the couch for the rest of his life. He didn’t buy it. However the following year he did. Andrew opened up his gift and looked at in with a mixture of fear and sheer panic.

“Bring it back,” He told Aaron “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

It was returned the following day. Aaron told me that I was a brainwasher. I’m okay with that.

Jake didn’t have the same reaction. He was so excited and an outing to shot bottles in the wilderness has already been scheduled. I told Jesse that when and if one of my children loses an eyeball from a bb I will kill him. He didn’t seem to care.

The Brauns are annoying.