When we first turned from under the D Train into the Bensonhurst chapel parking lot we knew it was something special. Leaving our ward is the saddest part of leaving New York for me. Bensonhurst is truly a ward family and we are pained as if really leaving our brothers and sisters. I've never felt so immediately and continually comfortable in a ward before and I contribute that to the undivided unity present, probably made possible by the small size and vast diversity among members. There are many converts, which also brings a refreshing approach to meetings and interesting variety to talks and testimony meetings. The ward exudes love and acceptance and I loved being part of it, and will miss that as we enter a larger and probably more "traditional" ward.My first calling was Relief Society secretary for a few months, then Primary president for a year. Then Ginger was born and I had a few months off, then was called as the Valiant teacher (8 to 11 year olds) and have been with them until this last week. So most of my time in the ward has been in the primary and I have completely loved it. Our second week in the ward the Soletas invited us to a birthday party for their then-6-year-old Shelly. Now Shelly is only a few weeks shy of nine years old, practically all grown up (far left in the picture), and she is just one of about 20 kids I have watched change and grow for three years. Here's a picture taken of my class this last Sunday. I'll miss them terribly. We've had a lot of fun and they know not to mess with me.
Just over a year ago the moms of young kids in the ward started getting together for a weekly playgroup. We met at various parks in good weather, and at each others' houses in the winter. At church it can be hard to socialize, busy rushing off to classes or controlling your kids or running to catch the bus home. Playgroup provided a needed outlet - a way for us to get to know each other, talk about adult (and yes, sometimes kid) things, and provide and receive support in this crazy life of New York motherhood. And oh yeah, the kids liked it too. Last week at playgroup my friends presented me with a shutterfly book of pictures taken at playgroup, signed by all the moms like a yearbook. It meant more to me than I can say. I don't want to leave my friends and I really don't want Hazel to leave her friends - they're a tight group. We have solicited as many to come visit us as possible and I hope they come through. But in the meantime we will sorely miss our friends.