My request was this : "Tell me about your connection with "Tulips". Whether you are a parent, family member, teacher, caregiver or volunteer, tell me how someone with special needs has touched your life."
I received so many wonderful comments from you guys! Honestly, your words really touched my heart. I received some beautiful entries from friends who I'd expected to hear from, and then others from acquaintances who totally surprised me with their thoughtfulness. Re-reading them all today, I could barely get through them without crying (ok, I did cry. I'm a crier). There were some that I tried to read out loud for Andrew, but I had such a lump in my throat that I had to stop. He then read them all himself and was just as moved as I was. He even said, "How many of these can we give away?! Can we just buy a bunch and give them all copies?!" Seriously. They were that good.
One comment was selected randomly, and I am happy to say that Ellen Foley is the winner of this beautiful canvas print by The Grumpy Goat Gallery!!! Yay!! Ellen, I just know you will love this painting, and I know that it will mean a lot to you. Please send me your mailing address and it will be shipped to you from the gallery!
Copyright © The Grumpy Goat Gallery
This was Ellen's contest entry:
Thanks to my Mom, I grew up knowing the importance of every child, especially children with special needs. I was very fortunate to have a wonderful mother who was a nurse for 30+ years at the Children's Rehabilitation Centre. In the early 80's when things were much different, we would often go and visit and play with the patients at the CRC, many who were inpatients, living away from their siblings and families. Later in life, I asked Mom why she did that and she said she always wanted us to know that no matter what someone's circumstances where it was important to play, have fun and bring a smile to someone's face. I am so thankful that I had a Mom who taught us what is truly important about life, kindness and people!
Here are just a few of the other entries I received. Thank you all again for your beautiful words! And thank you to Cara and Pam at The Grumpy Goat Gallery for donating this canvas print. If you didn't win, I hope you will all go buy one!
So blessed to have met Brennen last Christmas and to share the amazing adventure of getting him to the North Pole. I have worked with special needs children/adults in the past but this experience for me was different. It really touched me! I feel very fortunate that I met Brennen. Julie and Brennen continue to inspire me to be a better Mother through the tiptoeing blog. There's a deep strength and love there that I enjoy letting into my life. xo
I was 18, entering my 2nd yr at university and became friends with Carolyn who, like me, stayed in residence. Carolyn had Frederick's Ataxia, a progressive condition similar to Muscular Dystrophy. She used a wheelchair, underwent surgeries to place a steel rod in her back etc. When we were hanging out, shopping, navigating snow drifts to get to the next party at residence, I quickly learned to see beyond the surface of a person's disability. Knowing Carolyn, who passed away about 10 years ago, has allowed me to be a better mother to my daughters, especially for my girl Olivia who has Cerebral Palsy.
My connection with Tulips began 32 years ago when I began working with awesome families and their little tulips! I have had such a fulfilled life watching the love and dedication these families have for each other. I wouldn't change one moment of my career and now that I have retired I think of all these families who have touched my heart everyday!
Robin de Verteuil
Since tulips have become somewhat of a symbol for children with disabilities, my connection can be summarized as: like tulips brighten a garden, the kids I have met over the past four years have brightened my life. Through Easter Seals NL and a school program called "Involve", I have found my passion in working with kids with special needs. Nothing will ever compare to the feeling of seeing a person achieve something they never thought was possible.
As a retired teacher, I have felt the joy of working with such special children. It is so inspiring reading your blog. Your passion for your beautiful son has led you on a wonderful journey to help many others!
On April 4, 2012 we welcomed our beautiful baby boy Andrew to the world and our little family!! Due to lack of oxygen and blood to the brain during birth, Andrew was diagnosed with CP. Everything changed! Life, love! We became closer and learned that love, family and friends were going to guide us on this road of the unknown. We may not know what is ahead but as long as we have each other, I know we will be ok! Andrew is our light and we will follow him wherever he may go. The photo reminds me of growth. And that is exactly what we are doing together. Growing!!!