Last fall, I planted a bunch of tulip, crocus, and daffodil bulbs in my front garden and eagerly anticipated their arrival in the spring. When spring came, however, the crocus didn't emerge after the soil warmed like I thought they would. A bag of bogus bulbs, maybe. Possibly, it was bad planting techniques (I followed the instructions) or unsuitable soil (I don't think so, though). I have seen no indication that the daffodils are going to make an appearance, either. The tulips are another story.
Just when I needed to see something in that garden that would brighten my day, a tulip sprout pushed itself just far enough out of the soil so that I could know it was there. It was a cold winter and a dry spring, so the bulb had been through some tough times. In spite of that, it pushed on and overcame the obstacles.
As we've been dealing with Jade's seizures, I frequently inspected the garden (when I haven't been in the hospital) and rejoiced every time I saw new tulip tips emerging from the soil. Eventually, just when I needed it the most, one of the tulips bloomed with a vibrant, cheery, red.
I can't see my garden now, but I know that it's there and I look forward to seeing it again when I return.
Now, why are friends like tulips?
Since Jade's seizures started, friends and family and even total strangers have been sending kind words and best wishes our way. Just like the tulip sprouts and the joy that the sprouts have given me, every time I see one or read one of those messages, I am comforted, knowing that we're not alone and that we're being thought of.
But there's more.
Friday was a rough day. Already suffering from a lack of sleep (necessary for Jade's EEG), and after a long day of tests and waiting and more waiting, we were admitted to the hospital so that they could do even more tests. Because we were admitted at the end of the day, we pretty much got lost in the system. In spite of my constant asking, they didn't bring dinner for Jade so I had to take matters into my own hands. They don't do parent trays, so I decided that I would get us both fed at the same time. It's fortunate that I did, because the food tray never arrived. Unfortunately, the cafeteria was just closing as we arrived and we had to settle for a couple of old chicken caesar salads with rusty lettuce. Better than nothing, but still not much to celebrate. "This is what I have to look forward to all week?" I asked myself, "And there aren't any take-out restaurants or grocery stores within convenient walking distance?"
Later, after Jade finally fell asleep, I had to go and collect our bags from the place we were staying. It was hard to leave her alone; I didn't have much faith in the cranky old-bat-of-a-nurse that I could never find. What if Jade had a seizure while I was gone?
By the time I finally got back and into bed, it was midnight. I'd been up at six. I was tired and hungry and in no mood for the bossy nurse that was in charge. Even worse, I was looking forward to a week of no food or a week of cafeteria food (I'm not sure which is the lesser of the two worses).
This morning, the tulips bloomed. Or, rather, some friends appeared out of the blue and really brightened my day.
The first friend to call was Jocelyn, from the other end of the country. Her parents, Leon and Jill, who live in Vancouver, were going to drop by in the afternoon to bring me some snacks. Apparently it was Jocelyn's gentleman friend, Bob, who had the idea. Leon and Jill (who don't even know us) arrived just after I put Jade down for her nap and after I'd arrived from a very unsatisfying lunch of over-priced, under-portioned and unpalatable vegetable chile (which was all the cafeteria had out at 1:15). After they left, I launched myself into the bag of high-energy treats with wild abandon. Thanks to a friend's request, perfect strangers (to us) went out of their way to help.
The second friend to call was Sharleen. She'd placed an online grocery order with a company that delivers food and flowers. Delivery will be on Monday morning - just when I'll need food the most.
The third call was from Fawn's godparents. They dropped by later in the afternoon bringing some Jade-friendly snacks and then they watched over her while she napped so I could go sit outside and relax. I fell asleep almost instantly in the afternoon sun. Later, they took us out for a walk and dinner at the Queen Elizabeth Gardens. It was so nice to get some fresh air and a good meal!
So, why are friends like tulips? I think that friends are like tulips because, even if you haven't seen them in a while or don't know how they're doing of if they're even there, when the time is right, they'll pop up and surprise you and bring some brightness into your day.
To all our friends and family and those we haven't met who have shared their kind wishes and experiences, or who have offered to lend a hand, I cannot thank you enough. You have made every day a better one.