When I walked into the restaurant that night, I was clueless. Truly. We had swung by the new house to pick up mail and I had just opened the sweet card and gift from Dawn (I miss you, girl!), and was still very emotional from that. It was almost eight o'clock, we were tired from a long day, and I thought dinner was sure to be a quiet time with Mike and Jorge.
So when my eyes fell on a rather great-looking group of people, enjoying chips and salsa and laughing, it took just a moment for everything to register. Then Cheryl grinned that grin that I just love, Bonnie yelled "Surprise!" and Rochelle pulled out the chair next to her for me to have a seat.
I needed one too. These gals, my best friends, had gathered our spouses AND our children for a special sit-down dinner together. Those of you who have an active family, complete with teens, know that getting the family together on a Monday night for dinner takes special talent within itself. And yet, these women pulled FOUR families together in one spot, on one night. The memory of it still brings tears to my eyes. Yes, it was THAT special to me.
See, these people mean everything to me. They know my heart, and I know theirs. They are my conscious during decision-making times, they are my laughter when it's raining in my soul, they are my tears when life leaves me parched, and they always, ALWAYS point me to Jesus. The gift of friendship that I have with this group of people is proof-positive of God's great love for me.
So the dinner alone was gift enough for a lifetime. And the story could end here and I could just stop and wipe the tears and enjoy the sweet memory of that night and know that I've shared a great friendship story with you.
But then you wouldn't know about...The Wallet. So this post is really for those of you who've emailed, wanting to know what I meant when I mentioned The Wallet.
At the end of dinner, they reached beneath the table and pulled out a HUGE box. Big people, really big. And decorated, no less, in pinks and brown - my favorite color combo - it was a totally girly gift box and something they knew I'd love. So much so that I quickly forgave them for also attaching printed adjectives describing me (in fonts large enough for nearby tables to read and appreciate, I might add!) such as "DC Addict!"
Inside the box was a host of wonderful things, carefully and individually wrapped, each one making me laugh or cry and sometimes a bit of both at the same time. But when I came to last box, at the very bottom, I sensed everyone at the table begin to shift in anticipation. Even the men, who'd been having an animated conversation at the other end of the table, were suddenly very interested in this girly box of mine.
I slid open the box and pulled out something long and slender, wrapped in...Coach logo paper! That's right, it was the wallet that matched The Bag. Even now, two weeks later, I grin every single time I open my purse and see it tucked inside. They got me. They really got me this time. I do believe that this rivals only the Sonic prank from last fall.
IC group - I love you! You guys are the true gift. The gift that keeps on giving all year long, with your love, your laughter, and your wonderful way with friendship. No gift is ever, EVER needed for me to feel your care, but The Wallet will forever and always be a tangible reminder of your place in my heart and life.