|The ABS volleyball team is hosting a tournament at which|
we will be able to run a booth to raise money for St. Jude.
Brandon sat with his family on the bench in front of us at church one Sunday morning soon after we returned home from being at St. Jude for many months. Eli’s shiny head marking the end of the row like a finial had his attention as his family filed passed us to sit down. With his eyes fixed on Eli, Brandon sat directly in front of him, placing his hand on the back of the bench then leaned forward so that only his nose to the top of his head showed. Then he popped up and said quickly, “hey, Eli,” then down again. Eli didn’t move and continued his pencil drawing of an intersection. I bumped him with my elbow and he quietly said behind his mask, “hi.” Since Eli was going to be his usual social stinker, I smiled and asked Brandon if he was in class that morning. I had walked Eli to his church class so that I could display him to the students for them to basically get their stares out and ask any questions about what he had been doing for the last nine months. So, Eli and I stood at the front of the class and I asked them if they knew where he had been, why he was gone, and what was different about him. Of course, almost in unison the class answered “He’s got no hair!” So, we talked briefly and generally about cancer, that it is not contagious, and about the medicine (chemo), that it is hard on his body and that’s why he looks so different. We talked about the mask, that it is for his protection, and I showed them his back-pack with the pump that was making a noise, and the tube that connected to the bag of nutrients. I showed where he had a bandage for his line that goes in his chest, connected to the TPN tubing, and I showed them his scars on the back of his head, and the bump where the valve for his shunt sticks up. The cutest little round face girl spoke up and put her hands to her chin and said “Awww, it looks like half of a heart,” describing the scar for the shunt. A couple of kids raised their hands to share about their own experiences of an aunt, or grandfather, or friend. I wondered if maybe Brandon had not been in class because his curiosity did not seem as satisfied as the others. He slowly lifted a Transformers toy above the bench for us to see. I said “oh, cool, is that Ironhide?” knowing full well through months of Transformers fact training with Eli that it was Bulkhead, but I was hoping my mistake would rouse Eli. Nothing gets a kid more riled than the chance to talk about his mother being wrong. Brandon rose up with a wide, square grin, “naw, this is Bulkhead… from Transformers Prime. We watch it on The Hub.” Worship began so his mother prompted him to turn around.
|Joan Vining and Norm Webb of ABS getting the backpacks|
loaded for delivery to St. Jude patients.
|We have fuzzy hair! And eyelashes.|