Surprise!

About a week and a half ago, I received a phone call from the children’s librarian at the local library. She wanted to know if I’d come read to a group of kids who were about six to twelve years old. I said yes immediately: I was afraid of reading to them, but I also thought it would be good experience for me.

I had a math test to finish the Saturday I was going to the library to read. I only had two more questions, which I figured I would graph when I got home. My father had gone early in the morning to the 4-H Plant Sale, and was going to be settling tomato plants in the backyard while I was gone. I could only hope he’d remember to pick me up.

During the morning, I went downstairs and search for the right book to read to a group of six- to twelve-year-olds. That was a pretty big age range! I had to find something that was entertaining enough for the little ones, but not so dumb that the older kids would be bored. After sifting through my favorite childhood novels, I finally settled on Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, which conveniently had an age-range stamped on the back.

I was all set.

I gathered up my books and hopped in the van. Dad drove me to the library, made plans to pick me up about an hour later, and I walked in.

So distracted was I by my book poster on the bulletin board on the way in, I missed seeing my mother–who was supposed to be delivering potatoes to the church–duck behind something.

After studying it for a minute, I waltzed to the children’s section, on my way to the desk of the children’s librarian. As I walked past the row of non-fictions, I saw my best friend casually looking through a shelf of books.

“Oh, my goodness,” I exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”

She smiled, and replied, “Oh, I’m just looking for a book.”

“I’m reading to small children today,” I proudly showed her my Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle selection.

“Nice!” she replied.

One of my closest friends then casually walked up to us both. I had noticed her there a moment before, but I wasn’t sure it was her.

Completely oblivious to the fact that the second girl doesn’t even live in the same town as me, I chattered away with the two about books and reading. “This is such a God-thing,” I chuckled. We continued talking for a few minutes.

“Lexi!” My best friend grabbed my hand. “Let’s go to the Children’s Room.”

I shrugged. “Sure. We’re old enough, we don’t need adults.”

We crossed the small distance between us and a room of toys. As one of my friends opened the door, I noticed a boy who was sleeping in the big reading chair.

Great, I thought. We can’t even talk, or we’ll wake him up.

I studied the sleeping form for a moment, which was hugging a large bear. Then my eyes narrowed. I first recognized the boy’s shoes, and then the hat he was wearing. I was just taking into account that his arms and legs were also especially familiar, when he jumped out of the chair.

Now, this person, I knew, lived too far away to just “coincidentally” be at this library.

I threatening pointed my little paperback Piggle-Wiggles at the three. “No. No. This can’t be today. It can’t be. I have a math test to finish!”

While my one friend tried to convince me that math was pointless, my duck-and-cover mom waltzed through the door.

“Well? We’re you surprised?” she grinned.

A smile slowly spread on my face as I said, “This isn’t even a God-thing anymore. This is a you-thing.”

As it turned out, my mom had contacted the library weeks ago to arrange my party there. The librarians were all in on it. The call to come read had been a lie, and my other friends were scattered all throughout the building.

All in all, after finding about seven more friends, we had a scavenger hunt; ate Chick-fil-A and Dingeldein Bakery Cake; played signs and improv; and I got pictures with everyone.

They got me.

They got me good.

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