Julie is my best friend. We have known each other since kindergarten. Nearly two years ago she moved to Chicago. While it’s great to have an excuse to go to the Windy City and have someone local show me around, I miss her tremendously.

So when I woke up the Saturday before my birthday and discovered her in my house (she had flown in and Matt had picked her up at the airport while I was sleeping), I was most surprised. It was the best birthday present ever—even better than swimming in Jell-O.

It meant so much to have her here that weekend. Thank you Julie and Matt for knowing me better than I know myself, and recognizing how important it would be for me to have my best friend around on my 30th. It really will always be hard to top that gift. I hope you both realize that.

Good friends (whether they be friends you met in school, later in life, or family members you connect with in a special way) truly make life better.