I told my friend Lisa that before the school year ended, I wanted us to go have tea at Tea Leaves & Thyme, a tea shop that is down the street from school. We have scones and tea and ham stripe sandwiches. It’s pricey and gorgeous and tasty.

Unbeknownst to me, Lisa emailed all my nearest and dearest at school (minus my teammates who “don’t do tea”) and surprised me with a little farewell party after work.

My school bfry Becky says, “I bet we’re gonna make the blog now, huh? Maybe we should do a video.” Ok, Becks, twist my arm…..

And I only cut it there to honor my dear friend and not embarrass her. I love the part where Lisa says, “You’re gonna be on the blog tonight!” Notice the silence after that. Mainly because most of the women sitting there had no idea I had a blog. Now they do. Hey girls.

But back to today. What a treasure. When I turned the corner and saw them all sitting there, the flood waters almost came. These women have grown to mean so very much to me. When I first came to Woodstock, I didn’t know that we would ever turn that corner between coworker and friendship, but with these, I have.

Starting on the right and going counterclockwise-

Bonny- You are wisdom to me.
Kristen- You got me this job. You will always be a part of the God story for me.
Beverly- You welcomed me that first year and I will always be grateful.
Nancy- I want to treat life the way you do- just laugh and love. You radiate peace.
Lisa- You love people so well. You are the epitome of a faithful friend. I am more sure of me because of you.
Kathryn- You are so very important to me. Our friendship does not fear distance.
Becky- Truly. You are the dearest to me. There aren’t enough words. I hope you know how much I love you.
Me- You are a dork.
Jennifer- We clicked immediately and never looked back. I adore you and your family.
Sydney- I’m sorry about next year. I totally love you. In my heart, you are one of my students.
Morgan- You are one of my absolute favorite friends. Forever.
Mandi- I kinda feel like you are my sister. We love like that is true. And family doesn’t stop loving because they live in different cities.

So there’s that.

I am blessed beyond measure. I have never loved going away parties- they make me cry and they make me lament my future loss constantly. Every moment screams, “SAVOR ME!” and yet as soon as I begin to do that, the moment is gone. So it went today. Before I knew it, we were done and my sweet friends produced gifts from every angle of the table. Gifts that are heart-chosen and specific and purely lovely.

And this, my bloggites, is when I became a puddle.

There are no words to thank someone for their support and love even in their sadness. Even in my sadness. It would help if I didn’t pray in these moments, but I do, and then I pour out my heart to God while tears flow. Just because the decision has been made does not mean I don’t remind Him that I dislike it some days. Like today.

But I am so grateful. Today was perfect, minus the brink of tears and then the actual spillage. I have said thank you to these women (and girls) multiple times today, but let me say again. With all my heart. I thank you. And I love you.

I think at every job you make a very few friends that outlast your employment.

Let me introduce you to mine.