A couple of years ago I heard the kids excitely chatter about their new favorite show: Pokémon Hero. I was so excited! I love Pokémon! I don’t love the cartoon, manga, anime, but I love the card game & now Pokémon Go. But. I was wrong. It took me a little time but I soon learned it wasn’t Pokémon Hero but Boku No Hero or My Hero Academia or Boku no Hīrō Akademia in it’s original Japanese. Sigh.

Boku no Hīrō took over our house. There was squealing, crying, the characters became part of our family. It was almost as intense as the Voltron days. My kids are dorks with a capital D. Soon it spilled over into cosplay. It turns out, my kids are so damn lucky, that costumes are not for Halloween anymore. Now it’s perfectly normal, acceptable, and in our circles expected, to honor your favorite characters by dressing up. By cosplaying (short for costume playing).

Tess’ journey into cosplay started in the deep, dark, secretive bowels of her bedroom. The door would be locked. Giggles could be heard. Occasionally I glimpsed a furtive character slipping down the hall to the bathroom. She was not ready to share with the world. She wasn’t ready to share with me. But I knew. Because. Tess is not sneaky.

We have a family Amazon account. This means when Tess orders wigs, make-up, cosplay parts, all of our kindles & phones beep with updates:

“Your Deku Anime Cosplay Wig has been shipped.”
“Your NoveltyBoy Boku No Hero Academia My..”
“Your Amazon.com order of “Japanese School Girls…” has shipped”

Seriously. That last one is word-for-word what popped up on all our devices. I’m still laughing over here LOL. Finally, for Comic Con Germany 2018, Tess came out of the bedroom and out into the open. Revealing her alter-ego Deku. Of course from Boku no Hīrō. Most of that Comic Con was spent squealing & fan-stalking other cosplayers (by Tess, not me!). That Comic Con birthed an new era. An era that is now in full swing. The Cosplay Era.

For the last year Tess has been working on her cosplay skills. It requires patience, dedication, creativity, practice, talent. It’s not just building a costume, make-up & hair but also getting the character just right. It is, in effect, live action role playing. When you cosplay you don’t just dress-up, but you become the character. In my humble opinion, Tess is a rockstar.

Last weekend it was finally time for Comic Con Stuttgart. Tess could barely sleep in the days leading up to it. There were plans with friends, plans with other characters, meet-ups, photo-shoots, the works. Then Friday she wasn’t feeling well. She had some serious pains in her back. In her side. I wanted to take her to the hospital, but it passed. She took a nap. She said she felt better. I believed her, but I now know she was trying desperately to will it away. She didn’t want to be sick. She didn’t want to miss Comic Con. But. Tess had a kidney stone.

Friday night, just before midnight, as I tucked myself into bed and put on the last episode of the Amazing Race, Season 31, Tess crawled into bed with me. I thought to watch the Amazing Race with me. But then I noticed she was crying, Tess very rarely cries so I assumed her favorite anime character died. I ignored her. Crying about anime characters is a little dumb. Right? But she kept it up, so I paused Phil, sighed and asked her who died.

“What? No Mamma. I hurt so bad.” My heart stopped. This wasn’t pretend. This was real. Tess never cries in pain. She is the toughest little thing you ever met. A lifetime with five brothers will do that to a person. I did a quick check. No fever. Left side tenderness. Kidney stone.

Are you kidding me? Kidney stone? Tess is barely 18. That couldn’t be right. It couldn’t be true. But her pain was so high, she begged to go to the hospital. If you knew Tess, you would know this is a really big deal. She’s walked on a broken foot, refusing to admit it was broken. She’s had stitches without anesthetic. Dental work without anesthesia. When I say she is tough, I mean it. Tess is tough. And Tess was breaking down in agony. It was horrible to witness and be helpless.

I had a codeine left from my broken leg, and I made her take it. I knew from experience (The Roommate), how horrible kidney stones can be, how horrible ambulance rides can be. I wanted to take the edge off her pain. I dressed quickly, Dave helped us into the car, and I raced to the emergency room. The right emergency room. The one with the urologist on 24-hour duty. I raced through the night, top speeds on the autobahn, and made it in less than 20 minutes. Tess feeling a little better as the codeine kicked in.

We waited a solid half hour to be seen, but then she became top priority. The doctor fully focused on Tess and her pain. Outside, in the waiting area, the patients stacked up. By two in the morning there were two more ambulatory patients, and three more patients laying on gurneys. I don’t know if they all had kidney stones, we were in urology, but they were all in pain. Tess, on the other hand, was feeling a little better. Tess’ stone had moved from her kidney to her bladder.

We had the choice to stay in-patient or go home. After my horror stories, Tess choose to come home and have me care for her. Armed with pain meds, we left the hospital. Tess happily buzzing painfree next to me, we drove home much slower. The night was beautiful. The moon was setting in a big, huge, neon red crescent as the sun started to come up in the east.

Finally, with the sky bright once again, we got back into bed and fell asleep. Poor Tess slept till almost 2 p.m., waking up in a panic that she had missed Comic Con. She felt fine. Tired. Sore. But not in pain. She begged to go. I called the doctor. The doctor okay’d the outing. Walking would actually be good for Tess, it would jog the stone down, out of the bladder. The stone staying in her bladder would be bad. Walking it was. Comic Con it was.

On Saturday we made it to two hours of Comic Con. Saturday night Tess slept a solid 12 hours. Her body had a lot of healing to do. She woke up still sore, but energized. Ready to put on her cosplay. She begged & pleaded. I gave her a painkiller and told her to get dressed. We were going.

An hour later a truly transformed Tess stood before me. Beaming. Ready to go. We had a fantabulous three hours at Comic Con. Tess was squealed over, she now has fans, even better? On Monday the kidney stone came out. All the walking did her good.

Tess as Toga Himiko

Outside of Comic Con

Tess as Toga Himiko

Inside the main hall

Tess as Toga Himiko

Tess as Toga Himiko