I thought about my wonderful friends that I wouldn't get to see as much any more. Then I remembered something that President Monson (that is the prophet of the LDS church) said in his talk last week at General Conference.
I wrapped some presents and displayed them on the table on a cake stand for the girls to see when they got home.
When they asked "Are those for us? Can we open them? What is inside?" I just shrugged my shoulders. This drove Naomi nearly bonkers.
I kept them on the table for dinner, so everyone could look at them and salivate.
Then, for Family Night I spread a big paper on the table, under the cake stand.
We thought about all the people in our ward who made a difference in our lives.
I gave everyone a few minutes to write down as many names as they could.
Then I directed their attention to the presents on the cake stand and asked them two questions:
1. How would you feel if I told you you could open up these presents right now? [exclaimations of joyous insanity]
2. How would you feel if I told you that there is something very special for each of you in those boxes but I will never let you open them, and that I am just going to keep them myself. [boos/hisses]
A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don’t get around to it. Someone has said that “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”12
I asked them each to pick one name on their list and "give a gift" to them by thanking them with a note. Then we addressed them.
Then they got to open the gifts!
(Which were thank you notes from me to them. Yes, a little anticlimactic, but at least they didn't show it.)
I will miss you, Kramers, Dorrances, Hansens, Peets, Nelsons, Empeys, Stanleys, Austins, Prietos, Street, Parcell, Neal-Ewings, Molnars, and all of my other dear friends of the Chapel Hill First Ward.
I will miss you,
Scott will miss you,
and the girls will all miss you.
(Dan, maybe not so much.)
As Joseph Smith used to say, "Friends at [chapel hill] first are friends at last."