Once upon a time, a long time ago (8 years ago) we moved to Massachusetts away from family and friends to live near my husbands job. For the first time in our marriage my husband would be working away from home. I was pregnant and just getting over severe morning sickness when we moved. We moved into a condo on the top floor of one of a series of condo buildings in Amesbury, Massachusetts. It was the hardest thing we had ever done. We had been married 2 and a half years, had a 1 and a half year old (Rachel) and a baby on the way.
The first thing we did when we got there was try to find a church. We were relatively new Christians and knew we needed to and soon. We found one a half hour away, the only Alliance church near by. There, on the very first day we attended, we met a couple that was serving in the nursery–they were home schooling as we planned to, had three kids born in 4 years, were open and friendly, and immediately invited us to small group at their house (always a trick due to hubby’s animal allergies).
We went and were so blessed by them. She and I quickly became friends (which was a blessing when my husband was suddenly working away from home.) He and my hubby hit it off as well–one of the first geeky guys my husband found that even approached his own level of geekdom.
When I was told by my doctor to stay off my feet to keep the severe Braxton Hicks contractions I was having at bay she insisted I stay with them and rest. When I had a new baby and was thoroughly wiped out she would insist we come visit–her children entertaining my 2 year old while I sat and read or chatted with her while she sorted and organized. She was the one who recognized and helped me deal with my children’s food allergies. She was the one who helped me relax about that whole potty training thing as well as other mothering quanderies. She was the one who showed me that home schooling didn’t have to mean school at home. She introduced me to the writings of George MacDonald (the writer who influenced CS Lewis and Tolkien to write fiction). Her husband and kids were a blessing as well in many different ways. Finally we had a couple whom we both got along with, who helped us learn to be better parents.
Later, when my husband and I were struggling I visited her with my then 3 little ones–Issac was just a year old. The visit was not the best as both of us were struggling with our own things though it did help me get out of my own slump. That was the last time I saw her until this week when out of the blue we got an email asking if they could stay with us while her oldest (now 17 and a lovely young woman) looked at a nearby college. We have all changed in different ways. As her husband pointed out we have had many different experiences along the way–they adopted 2 more children and still struggled with multiple food allergies/intolerances and moved to New Hampshire, we moved home, discovered food enzymes, Rachel’s Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and Ubuntu, all of which have changed our lives (some for the better, some for the worst.) It was wonderful time and hopefully in the future we will not lose touch for quite so long. And I am so very grateful for their incredible influence on our lives and how God has used this gentle woman and her husband to help us grow.
(Sorry no pictures–we were too busy.)
Also: If you have a moment check out my sale on my hand drawn Halloween cards or prints.