When we moved to Houston 4 years ago, I would never in a million years have predicted how much I would come to love Palmer Church and the people there. We started out just going on Sundays. Once the school year started, Olivia joined the Cherub Choir and we began going every Wednesday evening for Great Wednesdays (choir for Olivia, nursery for McIver and an adult Bible study for me - not to mention the delicious $5 meals for adults and $1 per slice of pizza for the kids!). McIver eventually joined the Cherub Choir and Olivia moved up to the St. Nicholas Choir. I felt like I was missing out on Great Wednesdays, but I just couldn't keep the kids out that late on school nights once Olivia started kindergarten (and school started at 7:50am). It wasn't long before I became active with the ECW (Episcopal Church Women) and was nominated and elected to serve on Palmer's Vestry.
Thankfully, the choir schedule this year allowed for a large group of us to enjoy time together every Wednesday on the playground while the big kids were in choir. The little kids played and we all just enjoyed talking about everything that Moms talk about - politics, child-rearing, schools, husbands, books, and more. The big kids raced down the steps after their choir to play until the bell rang 5:00 which meant the pizza would be arriving soon. The party moved upstairs to Fellowship Hall and we loved that the kids were tired and fed - and we didn't have to do anything to prepare or clean up! We'd all go our separate ways with the promise of doing it all over again the following week. It was usually a highlight of my week - I will miss that fellowship of being with these women who have similar hopes and prayers for their children. (I know full well that I will find a similar group of friends in Columbia - but it certainly doesn't make it easier to leave these friends behind.)
Anyway, Tuesday night was my last Vestry meeting. After the regular business, there was a brief 'celebration' of my time at Palmer. Different Vestry members made some very nice comments about me and how our friendships have evolved over the past few years. We also had a delicious dinner, cake and champagne (a long-standing inside joke at Palmer!). There were quite a few tears on my part, but also a lot of laughing and story-telling. Leaving Palmer will be one of the hardest parts of leaving Houston.