Monday, December 3, 2012

Thank You

We're moving.  Josh has accepted the minister's position at a different church, in a different state.  We're moving back "home."  Home defined as Massachusetts, close to Boston, close to the beach, closer to family & friends.

As I pack my home, I am realizing that this sleepy little town of the NH seacoast has become my home as well.  We moved here when I was just 27 years old, when I was young.  When I felt and looked young.  These past 4 1/2 years I have grown up.  These past 6 months I have aged exponentially - I have aged 50 years in six months inside.  Really.

My church has welcomed me, Josh and Caroline from day 1.  Caroline was just 10 months old when we moved here, she wasn't even walking or talking.

My church has witnessed my family grow.  I was pregnant with Jackson, Ryan and Ethan here.  They threw me a baby shower when expecting Jackson - such love.  

When pregnant with Ethan, early on, I was placed on full bed rest (except for bathroom privileges) at home.  This happened on and off for weeks.  I wasn't allowed to carry Ryan - 6 months old at the time.  Wasn't allowed to sit up to feed him his bottle.  Certainly wasn't allowed to chase after my 2 and 4-year-olds, take care of the house or make their meals during those times.  My church family stepped in and took care of me & my family.  This happened even more when the shit hit the fan and I was hospitalized in Boston.  The church was gracious with Josh about when and where he did his work, working from home at times or writing a sermon when visiting with me in the hospital.  

They prayed for me.  For Ethan to live.  They grieve Ethan with me, as they expected their family to grow as well with his birth.  They have not shied away from my grief.

And now, I am preparing to leave this community, this family.  Yes, I am heading for home in January.  But I am leaving one of my homes behind - surely.  So this move is exciting, is God's path for Josh and our family.  For me.  Though it comes with sadness too.  I am learning that is part of life.

The minister's wife, the friend, the church member, the Christian, looking to find a way to say goodbye to my church, my family, my home.  The only way I know how to is to say THANK YOU.

Thank you Shirley for sitting in front of me each week in Church.  For cleaning up the crumbs my kids leave behind on the floor, under the pews.

Thank you Jeff for getting to know me, allowing me to get to know you, during those weekly small group meetings at Dori's home.

Thank you to the 3 ladies who have demonstrated that it is possible to LIVE after the death of a child.

Thank you Meagan for always telling me you love me.

Thank you Abby & Emily for being our friends & babysitters.  For saving my sanity by giving me time to remember that I am an individual, apart from my children.  For the countless times you took care of my children, vacuumed the floor, cleaned the home and more, when I was a state away in the hospital.  For helping to fill my responsibilities as mom when I couldn't be there myself.  And for kindly refusing to be paid for all of that.

Thank you Mary and Jacque for "getting" my rambunctious children.  For loving them because of it, instead of despite it.  For teaching my children during Sunday School...thank you Kathy as well.

Thank you Lyndal for being Caroline's first friend here in NH, and one of her closest.

Thank you Kate for being a true friend to me.  For always being real with me.  For talking with me about Ethan, and wanting to.  For watching my children so Josh could rush to Boston when I was in labor with Ethan.

Thank you Darlene for taking Caroline for multiple play dates.

Thank you Rich for demonstrating what it is to be a Christian.  Always willing and eager to help when a need is present.

Thank you Elzina for being the kindest woman I have ever met.  For loving my children.  For loving me.

Thank you Dwayne for being the kindest man I have ever met.  For your soft-spoken words.  For your genuine way.

Thank you Derek, Heather, Diane and your entire family for embracing our family as we are.  Full of energetic young children.  For laughing at our antics & chiming in with your own.

Thank you Skip for so many things.  For being our neighbor (and a shout out to Shirley here as well), our friend, our handyman too!  I love you & your family.

Thank you Pam for helping out whenever we are in a bind.  Whether it be watching our kids or letting our dog out.  For your friendship.

Thank you Marline & John for naming a star after Ethan.

Thank you Sue and Gary for opening your home to us, for meals, for company, for choir parties (even though we can't carry a tune), for swimming in your pool.  Thank you for your friendship.

Thank you Colin for being my dose of sarcasm!  I desperately needed that when we moved, and immediately felt at home with you.  Thank you for helping me walk the kids to the car after coffee hour when they all ran in different directions.

Thank you Pat for loving my family.  For loving our real children.

Thank you Robin & Ron for being my friend.  On every level.  There are not enough words here.  I will always treasure our friendship.

Thank you Tom for loving us.  For showing me your heart.

Thank you Deb for telling me I inspired you.  Thank you for inspiring me as well.

Thank you Carole & Dan for making me laugh.  For feeding Ryan & carrying him around at 6 months old when I wasn't able to.  For our friendship, though recent, it feels so strong.  For showing me a loving marriage that is very similar to mine.

Thank you Pam & Mark...again words fail here.  For loving us, as your family.  For burying Ethan with us, for somehow making that terribly sad act beautiful.  

Thank you all for making sure my children did not run out the doors of the Church. 

Thank you for being the village that raises our children.

Thank you for remembering Ethan.

Thank you for showing me what God's love is.  


  1. And thank YOU, my dear friend Annie, for opening your heart to all of us and showing us that not all pastor's wives are "Annie Camden!". You are so real and that's what I love about you, from the moment I met you in your jeans and Celtics t-shirt! I am going to miss you soooo much! ~Love, Robin

  2. Thank you Annie for writing this blog. It is so powerful and inspirational ...reminds me to always keep going. Thank you for being the only other person on the planet (except maybe Mary) who 'gets' the challenges of living with a gray boy ;p. To look at you and josh and your beautiful family reminds me that it is all worth it. I love u sister, my friend.