This weekend, I have had much for which to give thanks. My birthday celebration started on Friday morning, and today, just before 7am, it continues with a house full of friends still here for the morning.

So in honor of this amazing weekend, here is my top ten list of things for which I am grateful. I could list many more, but this ten will have to do.

10. Ian, age 4, calling me “Birthday Girl” all weekend.

9. The amazing spread of food – macaroni and cheese, green beans, risotto, ribs, grilled chicken, sweet potato pie, chocolate cake, and cookies.

8. The way that Ian and Henry, age 5, became best friends in an instant. As an adult, I could learn much about love from watching the easy way kids make friends.

7. Zoe’s, age 8, focused determination in making everyone the perfect marshmallow at the bonfire.

6. My dad’s pride in the clean, orderly house he created for my party this weekend.

5. A set of books, hand-chosen by my friend Megan because they show ways people have written complicated, histories of important stories.

4. The sound of car engines and loud mufflers as my friends drove in, some over 5 hours, to be here with me this weekend.

3. A hand-turned pen made as a gift just for me.

2. My friend Hez just taking care of the trash when I didn’t get to it first.

1. The profound way that Grace pours out in the voices of children and the presence of friends.

What is the best birthday present you ever received? Why was it so special?