After we watched the final See Spot Run team member cross the finish line, Steve and I received and gave more hugs and then headed north for lunch and home.
Jim and Betty took Cooper and Katie back to their house, so we had a few hours of quiet time to rest and recover.
Liz and Kris (pictured above) had asked that the whole family be home by 5 p.m. for a surprise. And I was told to not be in my pajamas already!
Jim, Betty and Uncle Jim brought the kids home just in time for a great treat -- almost 50 friends gathered on our front lawn to serenade us with Christmas carols.
The group represented so many of the members of our beloved community -- family, friends from Bledsoe Elementary, neighbors, Jim and Betty's friends (who have known Steve since he was a teen and have some great stories to share). Some of them had already devoted hours for our family that weekend -- at the pre-race dinner and the race itself.
We sat on the front walkway and enjoyed the sweet gift of their time and talents. Our spirits were already soaring from the weekend. The carols just pushed us even higher.
Deck the Halls
Angels We Have Heard on High
Away in a Manger
The First Noel
Frosty the Snowman
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Joy to the World
Oh Holy Night
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
As soon as the last note ended, Cooper bolted from his spot next to us to say hello to his teacher, Aimee Sanchez (pictured above). He was over-the-top excited that she visited his house.
We are blessed to be a part of the Bledsoe family and incredibly thankful for the teachers and staff members who continue to take special care of our family. We are touched that so many families devoted time on a Sunday to wish us a merry Christmas. We are in awe of folks like Liz, Kris and Holly, who take great care of their own families and still make time to take care of us.
We're just a week from Christmas, and some of you may be stressed. Maybe you think you have more gifts to buy. Perhaps instead of spending money, you could give the loved ones on your list your time. You could sing for them, or cook for them, or set aside an afternoon to visit.
Late Sunday night, Steve declared himself "the luckiest man on earth."
He didn't receive any material gift that prompted that bold statement. He received an outpouring of love that overwhelmed him in the best possible way.