Tonight after dinner Sean, Abby and I went for a walk around our block. It is a walk that we have done many times over the years, whether we were delivering block party invites, thank you notes or just visiting with our neighbors. We have been so busy lately preparing for our move, that we haven’t gotten to be out and about spending time with the people on our block.
So as we were wrapping up our packing this weekend, I decided to write a thank you letter to the families on our block that have made us feel so welcome and comfortable all these years living on Claremont Avenue. It really expresses how much we have appreciated having such caring and thoughtful neighbors. Then I invited the kids to join me to hand deliver them, so that we could personally thank and say goodbye (though not really, because we are staying in the neighborhood) to those of our neighbors who were home and not too busy to answer their doors and chat.
Sean, Abby and I had a really nice time making the rounds and reminiscing with many of the people on our block that we are proud to call friends after all these years. It’s hard to believe how much has changed over the eight years. A boy (really more of a young man now) that was not much older then Sean when we moved in, just graduated from college this year and was outside working on his car with his Dad. We interacted with many families who we have shared so many fun and special times with over the years and it was very bittersweet for me, as you can imagine. It probably won’t surprise you when I share that I got choked up more than once along the way.
So I thought I would share what I wrote to our neighbors, as it really sums up what it has meant to our family to live on this block and be surrounded by such caring and thoughtful people:
Dear Claremont Neighbors,
It is bittersweet to write this note as we prepare to move from this house that we have lived in and this block that we have been on for the past eight years. We want to thank you for making us feel so welcome ever since we moved here in March 2003.
We have so many wonderful memories from the years we have lived next door (or down the block) from all of you. We will never forget all the fun times we have had, especially the many block parties that we spent celebrating summer with you, along with many of your extended families and friends.
We will also always remember the simple moments and conversations we shared with so many of you when we happened to be getting in or out of our cars at the same time or doing things like planting flowers or shoveling snow. It has been a joy to live on such a friendly block with neighbors who are ready and willing to chat with you about anything and everything!
You have seen us through some of the best and worst times in our life during our years here. As you may recall when we moved in we were expecting our first child, our son Sean, who will be eight this October! It meant so much to us when you all threw us a baby shower in anticipation of Sean’s birth. That shower was such a great introduction to the kindness and generosity of the people and families who live on this block.
We will always be grateful for the care, concern and support that you showed us during our pregnancy with our second child, our daughter Molly. From the thoughtful cards and gifts you gave us, to the meals you made for us and especially your presence at her memorial service after our baby girl was born and died in April 2008, we can never thank you enough. It was during that time that we realized just how blessed we were to be a part of the Claremont Family.
You also rejoiced with us when our third child, our daughter Abigail “Abby” was born in September 2009 and have gotten to watch her grow from an infant into a toddler with us over the past two years.
As we prepare to leave Claremont this week and move into our new home on Oakley, we want you to know how much you all mean to us. We hope that you will feel welcome in our new house and stop by if you are in our neck of the woods. Likewise, we intend to keep in touch and visit in the months and years to come. We also look forward to seeing many of you around town, as we know we will, at places like County Fair when we are grocery shopping or at St. Barnabas on Sundays at mass.
Thank you again for everything. Our new neighbors on Oakley have some big shoes to fill. If they are half as friendly and kind as all of you, then we will be very lucky! We hope that the rest of your summers are wonderful and we wish you and your families the best! You all will be in thoughts and prayers.
Take care and God bless,
Bob, Kathy, Sean and Abby Benson
with Molly in our hearts
Lastly, at one of our stops tonight, visiting with our neighbors and delivering our thank you letters, one of Sean’s friends made this adorable sign. I thought it was so sweet! He let us take it home and keep it, so I will leave you with that tonight.