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February 20, 2004



Four Smiths,

I hope you have a wonderful family reunion tonight. We'll have a toast to all of you tonight at dinner with mom and dad. It's good to know that you are all back together.



Gramma Judy

By the time I finished reading your "thank you" last night, I was in no condition to respond.
It was such an eloquent and beautiful good bye to Baltimore and all that it has entailed, even if I could have contained my emotions, I don't know what my words could have added. After reading Zanny's note today, though, I wanted to echo her appreciation of all YOU have done. I honestly don't know of any other daddy who would have taken on this challenge, and I absolutely do not know of any other daddy (or mommy) who would have handled it so well. Not only did you take wonderful care of Tessa Jean during this month, but you also took such good care of the rest of us too. Your blog updates were so well written, informative, touching, interesting and most of all, appreciated. I was there with you that first week, so I know that the caretaker's role was not an easy one. Tessa has done a magnificent job; I cannot find the words to express how proud I am of her courage, tenacity and strength throughout this whole experience. But you deserve a tremendous amount of credit for all you have done -- starting with the day of her diagnosis you have dedicated yourself to getting this accomplished, and by God, you did it -- and you did it so very well. I certainly don't mean to leave out Susan; she has played a very big role in this, too. Just not being there the whole time had to be so difficult; I know it was for me and I am just the gramma! Anyway, I am extremely proud of you, Rob, as my son, my friend, and as the daddy to two of my beautiful grandchildren. I love you very much, and I hope your return to KC created special memories that will live on forever. Hugs and kisses to all.
Gramma Judy

Pam & George

Dear Tessa & Robert, I am sitting here crying like a baby! I am so proud of you guys. It is a very rough road you are traveling on, and you are handling it remarkably well. I am so proud of you . I want to thank you for letting us share this journey with you. We are very touched. Also, thank you for continueing this when you get to Kansas city. We are family, and we all need the loving support a family can give. We love you very much!! Pam, George and family


Dear Rob and Tessa Jean,

Ok, I think I have stopped crying long enough that I can compose myself as well as a note to you. I am so happy that you will be home soon. I will miss Baltimore and the people there as well. It is scary to leave the security of knowing that Tessa is receiving care from such talented and terrific people, but I know from my work supervising such professionals, that there are talented and terrific people everywhere that dedicate their lives to helping children. I am sure that the people in Baltimore will always be advocates for Tessa whenever and if ever you might need them.
You mentioned on the blog that you might be forgetting some people, I am positive that you did, Rob. Yourself. I would like to take this moment to personally thank you for taking such good care of my girl. The circumstances were trying and stressful to say the least, yet you handled all that came your way with grace, honesty, courage, and sincerity. Tessa Jean is a strong person, no doubt. I am sure, however, that she has learned that trait from you and Susan. She has learned to pull strength from you and Susan when she is feeling weak. What a comforting thing that is for her to know that, as she so eloquently puts it, "My Daddy has very big shoulders." I can assure you, it is comforting for the rest of us as well. Thank you, Rob, for everything. I Love you guys! Safe travels and good luck on Phase II. Kansas City, Kansas City here you come!


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