"Mom, this was on the front porch for you."
Handing me a medium-sized green gift bag, my third-born sat down in the chair next to me to watch me explore this mystery. My fourth-born was not far behind.
Peering inside, I discovered that the bag was full of...paper towels.
Or more accurately, things wrapped up in paper towels.
Not at all sure what to expect, I took out a tiny bundle tucked into a safe spot at the top, unrolled the paper and out into my hand fell a tiny figurine.
A figurine of an Irish Setter.
And she looked exactly like Gracie.
They are all so adorable I could burst.
"Ohhhh!" I remembered out loud. "These are from Kelly!"
Kelly is the lady who brought me to Gracie. She eats, sleeps, and breathes her undying love for the breed, and keeps her hands full with three red heads of her own.
Yes, three Irish Setters. That's a lot of energy but Kelly takes it all in stride.
Gracie also approves.
I knew that Kelly has been working on downsizing and decluttering her home.
Yes, just like me. We've been partners in this task of lightening our respective loads.
And Kelly is a collector extraordinaire.
But she's ready, she says, for the joy of less, and recently she's taken on the task of giving away her collection of Irish Setter figurines. Gathered up over the years from countless antique shops, flea markets, and estate sales, she owns dozens of darling likenesses of our beloved Irish, and when she mentioned that she was ready to part with them, she asked if I'd like one or two.
I have no such adorable figurines in my household and I can't think of a better way to reflect on a lifetime of Irish pups in my life, or to celebrate my special friendship with Kelly.
"Yes, they are very cute. Maybe we should have some treats to celebrate??"
So this bag full of treasures was Kelly's gift to me, four figurines from her gorgeous group, and as I unwrapped each one, my daughters and I delighted over their amazing likeness to our Gracie:
the tilt of the head,
the tip of the tail,
the tuck of the front leg into a classic 'setting' position.
Each artist had captured the special nuances of the breed, and memories of my three Irish boys - Kelly, Casey, and Ranger, the dogs before Gracie - flooded into my heart.
"Hmm, what's this? More dogs in the family?"
"Mmm, they're pretty cute. I like how they sit so perfectly still."
"Good dogs. Now let's all take a nap."
I love the figurines. But even more so, I love Kelly's thoughtfulness in sharing her beloved treasures with me.
And even than the objects themselves, I love how Kelly's gifts remind me of our connection, our shared passion for these
and deeply affectionate dogs.
Kelly and I are bonded because of our dogs, and her gifts will always remind me of how lucky I am to have a friend who shares that Irish Setter love.
* * * * *
If you're catching up, here are a few stories that explain how our Gracie came to us - and Kelly was a big part of that crazy chain of events. So grateful for everything she did to settle Gracie into our family.