I’m part of this group called Fully Alive, which is sponsored by Newsong’s Mom’s Ministry.  We’re kicking off our Fall women’s group meetings this Friday, and as part of a show-and-tell exercise to get to know one another, Ann, one of our fearless leaders, asked us to bring something from home that has sentimental value.  This is hard for someone whose whole home has sentimental value – virtually every object has a story, right? – but as I thought about it, this necklace came to mind.

The kids were probably 6 and 4.  It was my birthday.  We had just spent the day up in L.A., where Daniel had an office.  That day was a lot of fun.  We walked around Korea Town and had lunch at this dumpling spot.  The dumplings there were famous for their size – they were the size of my palm!  It was in a busy part of L.A., and the neighborhood was a little sketchy.  As befitting a big city, there was some trash on the street, and people experiencing homelessness walked by, which elicited some curious glances from Dragon and Hannah. It was an adventure for our little ones.

The next day was my birthday.  After my birthday lunch, Dragon and Hannah came up to me with a cardboard box with a ribbon around it.  The ribbon was floppy, and you could tell either Dragon or Hannah had tied it.  I held the box with anticipation, because we all know that homemade presents are the best presents.  Dragon and Hannah gathered around me, their eyes aglitter, holding their breaths in anticipation.

I opened the box.  In the box, there was a lovely necklace made of wooden beads and sparkly spacers.

“Surprise, mommy!” they shrieked.  “We got you a necklace!”

“Oh, my!” I shrieked back, immediately putting the necklace on, rearranging it on my neck so that it fell, just so.  “Where did you get it?”  I asked, surprised, expecting a drawing or a spray painted macaroni frame.  “Did daddy take you to go buy it?”

“NO!” they cried together.  “We found it!  It was lying in the middle of sidewalk.  In LA!  Yesterday!  By the trash!  It was beautiful!  And it was just lying there.  And we thought it would be a good birthday present for you.  Do you love it?!”  they asked eagerly.

I laughed, and I fingered the necklace, which my kids had found on the street, like treasure.  For a moment, I thought about how they had found it, this necklace, which was now around my neck, in the trash!!  But then, I pictured their wonder upon stumbling upon it and picking it up and putting it away to surprise me with, to make me feel loved the next day for my birthday.  I looked at Dragon’s face and Hannah’s face, so proud with accomplishment, so eager to make me happy.

“Yes,” I said.  “I love it.  Thank you.  I’ll treasure it forever,” I replied.