It's amazing how sometimes life gives you what you need...even when you don't know that you needed it. Looking back, those times have been some of the most profound moments of my life.
The first time I ever realized that life can sometimes throw you a curve ball, that ends up being a blessing, was when I found out Bailey was joining our family. We didn't plan on starting our family so young, however we knew immediately that we were committed to each other and this little baby. I've always referred to her as "the greatest surprise, that I never knew I wanted." She instantly filled a hole in my heart...that I never even knew was there.
Since then, I've been careful to take note of times in my life when I've been given things, that I didn't ask for, but I've so desperately needed. I try to be more aware and more thankful for these things, because they tend to have such a pronounced presence in my life. These things tend to lift me up, hold me together and fill voids, even though I was unaware that I was longing for any of this.
Friends that call, for no reason, just to see how I'm doing, on a day when I didn't realize that I was barely holding it together. Packages that show up in the mail, just because someone wanted me to know that they were thinking of me. A random, sympathetic smile from a stranger, watching me struggle with my kids. A rainbow on a sunny day, reminding me of Mom watching over us. A love note, tucked under my pillow, from Josh.
Sometimes, friends can also be brought into our lives that complete a piece of our seemingly completed puzzle. Friends that instantly feel like family, as if one soul says to the other, "Why, hello! I've been waiting for you to find me." Friends who you didn't know were missing from your lives, but who you now know that you can't live without.
These kinds of experiences are unexpected gifts. Gifts that you didn't know you needed. Gifts that you didn't ask for. Gifts that require nothing in return. Gifts that make you stand taller and smile brighter. Gifts that make you want to be a better person.
Those are some of the greatest gifts in life.