• Carla

Signed Up

Updated: May 19, 2021

My grandpa died last Monday night. I got my second Pfizer shot on Tuesday. Although he didn't have COVID, the juxtaposition of those two days is not lost on me: Death immediately followed by a major milestone on our collective road back to any semblance of a normal life. I don't take that timing lightly. If there is anything the last year has shown me, it is that the significance lies not in what things happen, but when.


The opportunity to get our first dose of the vaccine came unexpectedly. I registered through Meijer and the county to be notified when I could make an appointment, but that was back in March when my age/risk bracket was not supposed to be eligible for a several more weeks. A week after I registered, friend called me to let me know that the Meijer nearest her had about 100 extra doses available that were set to expire and that they were taking walk-ins, regardless of eligibility. I literally hung up the phone as Evan arrived in the driveway with O, having finished her virtual school for the day. Neither of us hesitated and immediately piled everyone back into the car.

We headed into the store and were directed to the back near the pet department. As we stood in line, I noticed a display of outdoor pillows about fifty feet away at the far end of a nearby aisle. Directly facing me was a bright and cheery sunflower on a blue background next to a bright yellow pillow with the words Hello Sunshine scrawled across it.

For anyone that knows me, they are already aware that sunflowers are my favorite. Every time they pop up in somewhere in my daily life, it is because The Universe is speaking to me. I felt the smile grow wide on my face and pointed out the pillows to Evan and the kids.


The vaccination path was clearly marked by arrows on the floor, so we turned in our paperwork and proceeded to follow the route. Wouldn't you know it?


Sunflowers around every corner.


They greeted us from garden flags, waved at us from spinning pinwheels, and at least five of them danced around the shelves surrounding the walls of the makeshift room where they administered our shots. I felt held, carried, and full of hope as we left.


Three weeks later, we walked into the same store with a lot less excitement. The first dose had left me with debilitating headaches for the better part of a week and I was dreading what that meant this time around. My heart was heavy with my grandpa's passing and I was worried if I would be well enough to make the trip to the other side of the state to be with family and friends.

We made our way slowly toward the pet department and noticed that they had shifted a lot of the path from our previous visit. The pillow display was no longer hiding in a back corner, but situated along the main aisle in clear view as we approached. The sunflower pillow was gone, but the words Hello Sunshine called out from the edge nearest us. I nodded at them as we passed.

Next to the pillows was a four-sided cardboard shelf of activity books. Sitting right at eye level was a Golden Girls activity and puzzle book. My eyes opened wide in surprise. It was the only one there, but also the most perfect gift for my dear friend, Millie, who I was staying with when I headed down to see my extended family. The plan had been to bring her flowers or a bottle of wine, but this was way better. I told Evan I had to have it and took it with us. My heart felt a little lighter as we joined the end of the line.

When a spot opened up at the sign-in table, the woman sitting there motioned us over. She turned to pick up two clipboards with paperwork for us to fill out and there it was:


The tiniest sunflower winked at me from her tragus piercing.


If I had blinked, I would have missed it.


I was not alone.





Thank you for joining me. I am so glad you’re here!


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