The Best Gift ever!


This week Grace turned 18 and Gracie’s best friend celebrated it in an epic way! Olivia planned 18 gifts in honor of Gracie’s 18th birthday and stretched out her birthday celebration over 9 days.

And as if that wasn’t impressive enough, she then planned 18 gifts that were representative of 18 memories she and Grace have shared over the years.

She then wrapped the gifts in chronological order beginning with their earliest shared memories, moving toward present day. With each gift she included a note explaining the gift and the memory it reflects.

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It was the most impressive gift EVER, with so much love and thought put into it. It was a delight to walk down memory lane vicariously, as Grace opened a gift a day. It was a joy to be able to remember all the sweet memories they have shared over the years. The Hudaks have been a part of our life for so long. I hadn’t realized how long ago they became such an intrinsic part of our life, and it wasn’t until I began looking at the pictures and reading Olivia’s words that I really recognized how center this relationship has been in our lives.

The weeklong birthday celebration for Grace began last week when Olivia gave Grace her first gift, a kitten notebook, with an explanation of her gift. Olivia also sent home a bag of gifts for Grace that I was to give her on days that Olivia wouldn’t see her. They were all labeled so tht I knew which gift to give her each day..

Wednesday – Tuesday marked phase one of the Best Gift Ever!!

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Here are the gifts and memory tags shared in phase 1:

1. Headband: “I’ll explain tomorrow!”

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2.The kitten notebook: “This gift represents when your family adopted Lizzy’s kittens in June of 2007. It also represents all the doodles of dresses we used to draw in our notebooks instead of writing down history notes.”



3. Lemon squeezer: “This is for all of the “sour” times we’ve had together. There have been plenty, haven’t there? (Grace is ruining my love life!) hahaha but we forgot about them because mostly we have sweet times and memories together. Hope you enjoy it!”

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4. Hint of Lime tortilla chips: “This is in honor of your 10th birthday in 2008. You had a Mexican themed party! Eat up!”

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5. Heart shaped gum container: “2008 was the year I began to like boys. Thus, it was the year that you were dubbed the Love Doctor. Thank you for putting up with me and various Love Doctor things you had to put up with over the years. I’m sure most of us girls at co-op have a long and high-priced psychiatrist fee that we owe you!”


6. High School Musical Barbie doll: “I was going through old yearbooks to figure out what to get you, and in 2009 (fourth grade) you said you wanted to meet Ashley Tisdale because she was your favorite singer. I got her for you!”

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7. Face mask and nail polish: “We had more spa days than I can count. Each sleepover back then was turned into a spa day! We painted nails, did facials, and tickled friends with back massagers while they were sleeping. (Remember that?) Good times, good times.”

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8. Chocolate Hazelnut tea: “We had a tea party or two when we were younger. This picture is from 2010! Look at how small we were!! Adorable!”

Phase two began Wednesday morning when we arrived at co-op. Wednesday was Gracie’s actual birthday and the remaining 9 gifts were given over the course of the day on Wednesday.

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Here are the gifts and memory tags that were given on Wednesday during Phase 2:

9. A song written by Olivia for Gracie in 2011: “Gracie’s 13th birthday song!”

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10. Mascara, eye shadow and face wash: “When you turned 14 in 2012 you could wear makeup! You also got a Facebook account, but I didn’t know what to give you to represent that, so instead there’s face…wash?”

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11. Butterflies: At our first Halloween dance at your church in October 2013 we dressed as butterflies. Look how pretty we looked! You did an awesome job on that makeup.”

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12. Gum: “On January 30, 2014 you got your braces off. Here’s a throwback celebrating that day.”

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13. Paint and paintbrushes: “This is for 2015- we painted a lot last year. Between the painting party we had in February to driving to Downingtown for mural club, we were always using paints and paintbrushes! Therefore, we  always need more of them. Happy Birthday!”

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14. Framed photo: “On March 19, 2015 you and I got together and created what is known to the world as PerfectlyImperfect3.14 (on YouTube.) It lasted approximately 7 months and 2 weeks. We posted nine videos. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was ours, and it was fun while it lasted!”

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15. Homemade potato soup: “Just Because! Like, it’s your favorite. I don’t think anything else needs to be said here.”  🙂

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16. Mini Candy Bouquet: “This is a reference to going to Downingtown for 3 days from June 2nd-June 4th. We had an awesome time!”

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17. Homemade chocolate drizzled caramel popcorn: “And here is some popcorn in memory of both the houseboat vacation, but also, mostly, meeting Maggie Stiefvater on October 17, 2015. I had the most wonderful time with you all- I mean really, it was my favorite people who went with me to go see one of my other favorite people! How much better can you get? Anyway, thank you for joining me on that fabulous day! I will treasure it forever (and I hope you guys will too.)

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The final gift (#18) was the best of all…

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Olivia made a power point slide show of the story of their friendship, put to the music of their childhood. It was very special and I had to fight back tears as I watched my baby and her best friend grow and evolve on the screen into the lovely women they are this day.

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(I wish I could post it to share but it is just too big of a file)


It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing, so reflective of the giver and of the sweet friendship they enjoy. Olivia, thank you for being such a dear friend to my Grace,

and for making her 18th birthday unforgettable!

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