We had been planning this trip for almost a year now. It started with two little boys’ obsession with Lego and a chance encounter with a San Diego LegoLand brochure that someone had carelessly tossed on the floor at a restaurant. For months, this brochure had been open-closed-open-closed-folded-refolded and even torn in a couple of places.

Spring Break was promised, plane tickets were purchased, Lego’s Brickmaster Club joined and the waiting began.

When I little, my family used to take road trips to the nearest Asian market 6 hours away. Yep, North Platte, Nebraska in the late 70’s wasn’t known for its Asian produce so we’d pack in the overcooked-pea-green Chevrolet Impala station wagon and head out once a month to the market.

Me ‘n my brother: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? huh? huh? huh? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

Well, that came back to haunt me. My own kids: “Is it Spring Break yet? Is it time? Is it April? When we gonna go to LegoLand? Are we going today? tomorrow? next tomorrow? next next tomorrow?”

Finally the day arrived! The boys thought they should pack ALL of their Legos to bring on our trip….because that would just make fanboy sense, right?

Our first stop was Los Angeles to visit my parents and host a little Food Blog Forum seminar, which just made my boys even more impatient and angry, to the point where I think Andrew thought we were pulling his leg about the whole thing. Nathan asked me everyday if I still had his LegoLand ticket, looked in my wallet several times just to make sure I didn’t give it away or use it to scribble a grocery list on.

Six….loooooong….days in Los Angeles and then “tomorrow LegoLand!” finally came. The boys changed into their pajamas, brushed their teeth and laid in a shared hotel bed, gigglin’ yakkin’ and gigglin’ some more about which section of the park they wanted to go on first, if they might see Darth Vader there, who gets to sit next to who on which ride and who would be a crybaby and wuss out on riding the Dragon roller coaster.

Before they fell asleep, Nathan turned to us and said, “Daddy my leg hurts.” But he was still in great spirits and had running around an hour earlier so we didn’t think much of it, perhaps just a result of roughplay.

3:00am he woke us up, whimpering about his leg. I let him switch beds to sleep next to me and he fell back to sleep.

6:00am he cried.

7:00am he couldn’t walk.

By the time we got him dressed, in the car, on the way to the emergency room, he couldn’t stand.

There’s nothing that scares me more than to see my baby in that much pain. Compound that with the heart breaking feeling seeing the disappointment in his eyes knowing he was going to the hospital….instead of LegoLand. Hurts. That combination of emotions right there. Double knots my heart.

I had been through this before…5 years ago….with Andrew when he was 17 months old. I had just given birth to Nathan 2 weeks prior, and all of the sudden, Andrew wouldn’t stand or walk, crying crying crying in pain. Newborn Nathan crying crying crying. Daysnightdaysnightsdaysnights at the hospital, newborn at home with my in-laws, being on pinsandneedlesfightorflight and not having a chance to bond with the baby. That’s another story for another time. I still haven’t healed emotionally from that experience….borderline post-partum….yet here I was again…..

As a Mom of two boys, I had to suck up my tears and just build a temporary dam to hold back the massive wave of unresolved undealtwith stuff.

Because I still had Andrew to take care of. There was no sense in all of us going to the hospital. I went on auto-pilot and called a cab as Scott drove off to the hospital.

Autopilot, me. Restrained excitement, Andrew.

Nathan was at Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego, scared, in pain with strange people poking, prodding, asking if this hurt or if that hurt.

But they’re pros at this children’s hospital. They knew how to make a little boy smile.

Nathan named his new friend Jumpy and Ramy (in honor of his new friend Remy, son of beautiful & talented Lucy Lean who always brings a smile to MY face)

Andrew, of course, was sad that his brother wasn’t there to enjoy the day but still giddy at the experience of his lifetime. At every attraction, he wanted me to take a photo to send to Nathan.

Every photo was a wave to his brother or a note spelled out in Lego.

I sent them via phone, knowing that Scott would receive them and hold back on showing them to Nathan.

Because it would have made him even more sad that he was missing out.

Scott and I communicated via text. It was better for the boys not to hear us saying these words: Pain. Xrays. Blood tests. Sonogram. Don’t know. Best guess. Hurting.

And finally a text: “Docs think it’s Toxic Synovitis”

Ugly words.

And the worst was “think”

I want CERTAINTY. I want to know for sure that the doctors know for sure.

I searched the term….scanned search results that came up….only wanted to click on one reliable answer…google health site NO. wikipedia HELL NO, the nih DIDN’T MICROSOFT BUY THEM OUT?, dr. greene ISN’T HE OPRAH’S TRAINER?, ivillage AREN’T THEY OUT OF FUNDING?

Finally clicked on Frank J Liggio M.D.’s site. Hey, at least he had those important initials after his name. YOU KNOW YOU’D DO THE SAME!

Good news: it’s common. it will go away.

Bad news: diagnosis is a process of exclusion — meaning doing as many tests as possible and if it’s not A, B, C or D — then it might be Toxic Synovitis. And if we’re wrong, it could be bacterial infection which would mean “surgical emergency” and possibly affect his growth plate.

Wait. I’ve heard these words before, 5 years ago. Can’t cry. Can’t cry.

So, together, Andrew and I decided that if Nathan couldn’t go to LegoLand…we’d bring LegoLand to him.

Can’t find the words.

He never once complained.

But I knew.

Meds started working. Swelling decreased. Pain easing. He’s hungry.

Let’s go downstairs in your wheelchair to eat!

And then we discovered the marble run in the lobby.

I spy with my little eye….a tiny little smile?

We spent 2 hours in that lobby, examining every side of this marble run, trying to predict its pattern…

…placing bets on which of the 6 directions the next ball would go.

The next morning, breakfast downstairs. McDonalds crispy hashbrown and pancakes with loads of syrup is what he wanted.

…and then back to the marble run.

And then…he stood!

and I was so excited that I told him to wave at the camera!

So the docs let us go. And off we went to LegoLand in a wheelchair. Our last very day in San Diego before heading home.

Looking on the bright side of things….

….Nathan’s wheelchair….

….gave us some awesome line cut’sies for the rides. bu-bye long winding lines!

A beautiful, happy, joyous day!

I *tried* to wake him up:

But no luck.

And we ended our day with a beautiful view at a fancy San Diego restaurant

Celebrated with a massive steak

And with our guests of honor…Jumpy and Ramy, who much preferred the spaghetti and spinach.

The photos are all taken with my iPhone – which is NOT why they are small. The photos are small because I’m a highly visual person – images affect my emotions so much that I’ve got to keep these photos small…for now.

Thankyou thankyou thank you to all of you for your kind comments and well wishes. You have no idea how much this means to me. xoxo jaden