I was working in the church nursery the first time Madelyn came to church. I talked with her mom and dad a bit and found out it was their first Sunday visiting our church after moving here from Washington. Madelyn was beside herself when her family left and cried most of the time. Ryan tried to comfort her and kept saying, "It OK, Madle." She responded to Ryan and Ryan talked about her everyday after he met her. After a few Sundays, they were best friends, and we had made good friends with Julie, Jeramie, and the rest of the kids.
After a while, our extended family welcomed the Vosses into our family and we began to celebrate holidays with them. Ryan loved having kids to play with at family gatherings and we loved having our friends with us too.
We would babysit the kids for Julie and Jeramie and they would return the favor for us. Sometimes Madelyn and the kids would join us for sleepovers.
Every Sunday, Ryan was excited to go to church so he could see Madelyn.
After Ryan turned three, he asked us what "married" meant. We explained it to him. He asked if he could marry his brother and we said, "no." He said, "Well, if I can't marry Jack, I'm going to marry Madelyn."
Our families have done so many things together over the past four years. We've welcomed Jack into the family, we've celebrated birthdays and holidays, we've had days at the beach together, we've gone to the pumpkin patch, and had many meals together.
Last night, we went to CALM together. It was so fun to see the kids together. We rode the carousel, looked at reptiles and lights, and rode the train. Every time I looked over at Ryan and Madelyn, I had to choke back the tears.
Our friends are moving away in nine days. I know its best for their family, so that they are closer to their own family, but it breaks my heart to see them go. To know that they won't be at church each Sunday and sharing a meal with our family on Mondays. To know that we won't hunt Easter eggs together next year or celebrate each others birthdays. To know that we won't have our friends living on our side of town with us anymore.
And to know that this sweet friendship that has blossomed over the last four years is going to change.
Friends, we will miss you deeply and we wish you all the best.