Last fall I wrote a post about my mom's and my friends: Barbara and Julie. You can read it here, if you haven't already ('cause it gives background on who they are). A few weeks before my mom died, Barbara went into the hospital for breast cancer surgery. When my mom heard about it, she had my dad go to the florist next door and bring back a selection of things. She pointed to the one she wanted for Barbara--a miniature yellow rose bush--to represent their friendship. After my mom died, Barbara wrote me a letter (like, on paper. With a pen. And a stamp. In the mail. That's how our moms do things.) She said she had planted the yellow rosebush and in the weeks leading up to my mom's death, little buds had come out all over it. The afternoon she got home from Mom's memorial service, she went out to her garden to look at her rosebush--it had bloomed all over. Isn't that the greatest story?
Anyway, remember the week when I wrote that "Sad" post? Well, on that Friday, the girls and I were supposed to go to Wheaton--to Julie's--for a pool party. We were so looking forward to it. I got in my car to pick the girls up from VBS--Darren had the other car at work with him--and it took me three tries to start it. Then when I got to the church, it died again. I knew there was no way I should risk driving over an hour on I-90 with it. I'm not exactly a car person, it may surprise you to learn.
So, incredibly disappointed, we made it home and called Julie to tell her we couldn't come. She said, "I'm getting in my car. I'll come to you!" So, an hour or two later, there she was...with cupcakes and gum and Hello Kitty nail polish for all of us.
First, we went to the Japanese gardens because she hadn't seen them yet. The girls showed her how to feed the fish, and she took videos of them, running and screaming toward the "Contemplative Garden" area. Oh, the irony.
Then we came home and flopped in the living room, while the girls busied themselves with the Hello Kitty nail polish. We were chatting (or as we call it, "sit-n-frit"), and Julie said, "Ever since you blogged about styling that doll, I've become obsessed with the idea."
She picked up Elaine's dilapidated doll, Sophie, who was lying on the couch. "Look at her," she said. "I've got hair serum in my purse. Do you think it would work in her hair?"
I looked at her. There are so many things I like about this person, not the least of which is, I can see her nuttiness and raise it.
"Lucy's doll Sydney has HORRIBLE hair," I told her. "I wonder if...I wonder if..."
"We should wash their hair," we said in unison and raced upstairs to the bathroom with dolls under our arms.
The girls ran up to see what the commotion was. "What are you and Aunt Julie doing, Mom?" Lucy asked. She looked puzzled.
"Having a beauty shop with Sophie and Sydney. We'll surprise you with them when we're done," I told her.
Here are some pictures we took with Julie's phone. This is before. Look how much in need they are of our ministrations.
Here I am, washing Sydney's hair. We decided since I'm blond, I should be Sydney's stylist, and since Julie's a brunette, she should be Sophie's.
Here's Julie. She's a Hollywood stylist. That's why she's wearing sunglasses.
And here's Sophie. "Look at her," Julie said. "She even looks more relaxed."
"What would you do if Darren came home from work right now?" Julie asked.
"He's bringing some of his visiting co-workers back tonight, too," I told her.
She affected a foreign accent. "Ohhhhh, look at these American women. They do not have enough work to do, so they wash the doll's hair. This is a very strange country!"
We left the bathroom and headed for the guestroom, for the intensive styling session. We pinned up the dolls' hair, applied product, and blowdried it in sections.
Here I am, putting serum in Sydney's hair:
And here's Julie, brushing through Sophie's hair.
"Aren't you glad we have master's degrees?" Julie asked.
"I think we should submit some of these photos to Loyola and DePaul, respectively," I answered. "Look how well this doll's hair has responded to treatment."
Here is Sydney, all fixed up:
And here's the amazing transformation the Hollywood stylist worked on Sophie:
The girls were thrilled with their newly styled dolls, and Julie and I went back downstairs to lie on the living room floor.
"I'm exhausted," she said.
"Me, too," I answered. "And those dolls didn't even tip us."
After Julie went home, and I was laughing to myself about the day, I thought yet again about how personal God is. He always knows exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.
Sometimes when you're grieving, you need a hug or someone to cry with you. Sometimes you need a rosebush to bloom at just the right time. And sometimes you need your lifelong friend to drop everything, show up on your doorstep with cupcakes, and style some dolls' hair with you.
Thanks, Julz! You are the best.
P.S. Some day I'll need to write down more of Aunt Julie's and my antics through the years. Our parents knew us well enough to discern that any odd behavior or disconcerting questions from us somehow had to do with each other, kind of like the time Julie asked her dad, apropos of nothing, "Can someone fly under an assumed name?" And he said (emphatically), "No. Does this have to do with Alice?" Then there was the time we went to the Theosophical Society in costume...But those will keep until another time.