Saturday, January 24, 2009

Childcare Arrangements

We are incredibly blessed to have so many of you offer to help take care of the boys during the time periods Craig is with me in Seattle. At this time, it is expected that Craig will be with me in Seattle approximately February 19 through April 7 and then again May 20 through June 13. These are the most critical time periods during the transplant process and when Fred Hutch would prefer my caregiver be my spouse.

Our hope is that we will be able to fill the remaining time periods with others in the role as my caregiver. With Casey's generous offer to help for about five weeks (read below) this leaves only two small windows open. If necessary, Craig will also be with me during these times as well.

My personal wish is that Craig will be able to go back and forth a bit so that the boys are not absent both parents for too long at any one period. I am already sad that I will be gone at all and hope to provide some sense of stability by his returns home.

While he is gone, our friends and neighbors, Guy and Misty Sauberan, have given us the incredible gift of opening their home to John Paul and Brennan. They have two children, Troy who is John Paul's age, and Amber, who is a few years older, and of whom Brennan is her biggest fan. Misty's mother, Kathy, also lives with them. Our families are good friends and our children are good friends. The boys will be able to share a room together and can even see our house from their back patio.

With that proximity, the kids can come home, whether it's to get new toys, different clothes, or just hang out at home for awhile. They can see our pets and be in their regular environment. They can easily spend time with our other good friends in the neighborhood. And we are trying to arrange "playdates" with other family friends here at our house.

The Sauberans own their own business (Hey! Need any automotive repairs or maintenance? Call LLoyd's Automotive at 927-9034!) and Misty's schedule is flexible and based on their kids' school schedule. Fortunately this means as little as adjustment as possible for both them and our boys. Steph Perko has graciously agreed to continue to provide John Paul's transportation to and from All Saints, as our start and dismissal times are different than Troy and Amber's school. And Brennan will continue his routine at the neighborhood daycare.

The most difficult aspect of dealing with being ill and leaving for the transplant is how it affects my children. And it is an indescribable peace knowing they will be where they will be happy, safe, and cared for like family. I will forever be in debt to Guy and Misty for opening their hearts and home to Brennan and John Paul. Walking out of their lives is, for lack of better words, easier, knowing they will be there.

I am entering contact numbers to the right under Contact Info so that should you want or need to, you can contact them during our absence. This is done, of course, with their permission. Should you wish to reach them via postal mail, please continue to send at our home address.

PLEASE continue to contact and interact with the boys as you normally would. Guy and Misty are more than happy to take your calls, arrange playdates, bring the boys to events or parties, etc. Their goal is to help us keep life as normal as possible. Please let them help us do that. And should you have the inclination, little outings here and there can keep you in their lives as well as giving the Sauberan's a little breathing room. Our friends Kevin and Belinda Jacobsen have invited the boys to spend Spring Break with them and their son, Gabriel, who is Brennan's age. This will be something fun for our boys to look forward to, possibly include a visit to Seattle, and give the Sauberan house a week of a little less chaos!

Craig and I have set the goal to have them visit in Seattle about once a month. We have target dates, which gives me something wonderful to work towards and to look forward to. However, this will depend on how I am doing and how their visit might affect them, in addition to any recent exposure to illness (Right.... Daycare and elementary school...). We also are a little limited by needing someone to travel with them. Hint, we are looking for volunteers to fly/drive, expenses paid, should you ever have a free weekend and want to travel with a terrific three and six year old......

Ultimately, when we are both gone, we confidently hand the reigns over to Misty and Guy to make all plans and arrangements on behalf of the boys. We have discussed our wishes at length with them and are confident they will make decisions as we would wish them to be. We have asked them to evaluate and communicate with us if the boys need the stability of sticking to their home base there or spend time with others or travel to Seattle. Please support them in these decisions. We know that no matter how much we plan or prepare, this will be a tough time for the kids. Our number one priority is getting them through all this with as little hurt and struggle as possible.

Again, Guy and Misty are happy to take your calls, for you to check in or call to visit with the boys, or make plans with our friends to see the kids. They will have a list of the names and numbers of friends and family that would be most likely to contact them. Just let them know who you are and go from there. If they have any concerns, they will contact us in Seattle or check with other close friends/family to make sure things are cool. It may be awkward, but better than disappearing! (Okay, this was not well written. Hopefully you get what I am trying to say.)

Ugh, this was hard to write. I don't want to leave them, period. But again, I find myself infinitely blessed knowing that they will be in good hands.

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