Family get-together

Tonight we had a surprise birthday party at BW3's for my friend Ricky (he's the one in the picture above) from work. My friend Valerie, his girlfriend that I also work with, has been planning it for about a month and we've been trying to keep it from him...I'm really surprised no one blew it. He was genuinely surprised.
It was no big fireworks or crazy drunk people...just a nice get together for someone we all cared about. As I sat there looking around at all the people that were there and was briefly explaining to Scott who was who and where they worked, etc. I realized that I felt so much love for these people...they feel more like my family than my real family....kind of like I do after a girls weekend. I looked from face to face and was thinking about the stories and the histories I know about each and every one of them...and that they know about me. I'm invested them and they in me. They've grieved and celebrated with me. They've cried and rejoiced with me. And it doesn't matter how busy we get, we all come out at the important times to support each other. There were some faces missing which was sad...some permanently, some just for tonight. There were some new faces like Scott's who were welcomed with open arms. We had a really nice, mellow time. We had some wings and some cake, talked for a while, laughed and talked and then headed for home.
As I walked outside I hugged some people goodbye then headed out into the cold night. As I was walking away I heard someone call out to me "LOVE YOU V!" and I called back that I loved them too.... and that made my night because it's so symbolic of my doesn't matter what I'm heading out into or how dark and cold it might feel around me, I will always have someone standing behind me reminding me how much I am loved and accepted. Another example of how good my life is.