The kids

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Last day in LA before heading home

Some of you may already know, but Kevin and I made the decision to leave the kids with some very close family friends in Los Angeles for at least part of his treatment.  “Grammy” Lila and “Grandpa” Paul are truly family to us, though not by blood.  They came into our lives just a little while after Kevin’s mother passed away, and were a welcome additional set of grandparents.  We are so grateful for Kevin’s dad and my parents, but I think anyone would agree that a kid can’t have too many grandparents!  So.  We made the decision that Jude and Evie would do best (and we probably would too) if they had the stability of staying long term in once place while we figured out this next round of treatment.  They’d been bounced around quite a bit these past ten months or so, and hard though it was, we knew that staying in one spot for a while would probably be good for them.

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All ready for Grammy Camp!

Once we flew out to Los Angeles (a last minute trip to visit with family and friends crammed in right before treatment started) we told Jude that he and Evie would be staying while Mommy and Daddy flew back.  It’s a hard conversation to have with a (barely) three year old.  We didn’t really know how much he understood, but we knew it was more than we figured.  We also knew that Jude had picked up on all the exhaustion, sickness, panic, and other energy that had been bouncing around the house for months.  He was nobody’s dummy.  So we decided to sit him down and just tell him as honestly and simply as we could.

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We said, “Jude, Daddy has cancer.  It’s something that makes him sick, and so Mommy and Daddy need to go back home and put him into the hospital so that he can get better.”  We showed him Daddy’s scar, and let him touch it, to give him something tangible to connect with the idea of cancer.  We said, “Jude, since Mommy and Daddy have to go spend some time in the hospital, you and Evie are going to stay with Grammy and Grandpa until Daddy gets better.  You’ll have lot’s of fun, and we will talk to you on the computer every day.  We love you very much and we are going to miss you so much, but we know that you will have a great time doing lot’s of fun things with Grammy and Grandpa.”  We told him the day after we got there, and then casually mentioned it each day as it got closer to the day of our departure.  There were definitely some tears, especially on the day we left, but it’s amazing what the promise of treats and care packages can accomplish (don’t judge us, he’s three!)

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Package from Mommy and Daddy FINALLY arrived!

The first few days after we left, though, he would literally burst into tears whenever we got onto the computer to video-chat.  It didn’t help that he wasn’t feeling well and had been struggling with a sore tooth and a fever.

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Mommy, I miss you AND I don’t feel good!

The third time we chatted, Evie, who’d been fine the whole time, broke down and started crying inconsolably.  There is nothing worse than not being able to reach through the computer screen to comfort your baby.  But, I did what I always do with little ones, I tried distraction, and soon got her laughing as I held up a cup with a straw to the videocamera and encouraged her to drink from it.  I still had to squeeze back my own tears though.

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I wish I could squeeze those cheeks right now!

But it’s been over a week now, and the kids are doing great.  I mean, really great.  And that just means the world to me.  Lila and Paul are getting lot’s of fun time with the kids, and they are also getting the opportunity to connect with some of our other west coast friends and family, something we would never have had the chance to do in a short visit.  Tomorrow they will be going to the Children’s Museum with Kevin’s cousin and her daughter, and last week they went to storytime at the library with some of our friends and their kids.

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Listening with friends

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About to do the hokey pokey at storytime

It means more than anything to me to know that my kids are not just fine, but they are thriving.  They are playing everyday and doing things that they probably wouldn’t be doing here, because I’ve been so exhausted just trying to survive.

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The Vornbrock Splashpad

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Fun in the sun

I am so truly grateful for God giving me the resources and the courage to make the best choice for my kids, even though it was nowhere near the easiest.  Thank you Lila, Paul, our extended LA family, and all of our friends and family here in Atlanta!

5 thoughts on “The kids

  1. You are so brave Rachel. Let us know if you want us to do anything. Our kids are at home for two weeks before heading back to daycare!

  2. A very sad situation yet a wise decission. Your children seem to have adjusted
    well to their new home and I wish the same for you and Kevin as I assume
    Kevin will have to return to the hospital.

  3. Rachel…God’s grace is sufficient! It becomes increasingly evident through each blog you write. But I also saw this when I met you briefly one afternoon when Kevin was sick and you had to get him from work. Just by watching your interaction with him, I could tell that you were operating on autopilot and God was leading. Although this is an EXTREMELY difficult trial, it is very clear that God is carrying you, Kevin, and the kids every step of the way. His love is overwhelming and the support group that God has encamped around you is a demonstration of His great love for you and your family. During your weak times and difficult moments (which have and will be plenty), rely on God’s strength to get you through. Let there be peace in knowing that if you ever get to a place where you can’t even bring yourself to utter a prayer, God has placed people in your life to intercede until you can get back to where you need to be. I am proud of both you and Kevin and my family prays for you all daily, just as many others do. Tell Kevin to kick that cancer’s butt as we continue cheering him on from the sidelines! Tahira – Kevin’s friend from Esquire

  4. Rachel and Kevin,
    You are in our prayers. I know that you are both very strong (in the Lord especially) and His strength will get you two (four) through this. I pray that the family will be reunited in His timing. And I think that you are both so very brave. I wish that I could hug you guys right now, but He is holding you both, and that is the greatest hug you two can receive.
    Ed, Christine, Aaronn, Andrew, Jay, and Taylor

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