Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hello to All! :)

Once again, my dear readers, I've made you wait much longer than I should between posts. :}  The truth is, Robby and I have just been enjoying our time with Emilie and I haven't thought of much else. ;)

Speaking of Emilie, she's just fine, adjusting perfectly to life with us. :)  She has officially started calling us "Mommy" and "Daddy", which warms my heart every time I hear it. :)

We've been moved once again...with Eugene and Rapunzel and their girls, too.  Beast'sbelle has been in a constant rearranging mode these past few weeks.  We're now on the very top of her white bookshelves.  I'm a bit concerned with our new location, to be perfectly honest.  We're a long way from the floor, and I would hate for Emilie or one of the babies to fall.  It's also going to be difficult for Robby to get up and down the shelves, so we might be a little more confined than we've been used to.  I'm hoping that Beast'sbelle will decide that this spot isn't where she wants us after all and move us again.

I still have not had a proper chat with Beast'sbelle regarding the whole situation with Emilie.  It's not that I haven't wanted to.  Frankly, she's been so busy with her blog and adding all of her other accounts (Pinterest, YouTube and such) that I haven't had a chance to see her for more than a few minutes at a time.  I am willing to hear her side of things, though.  It helps that Emilie ended up with's hard to hold a grudge that is now obsolete. :}

Isabella is still anxiously awaiting the results of her eBay listing.  No bids so far, but she has at least one person watching her auction.  I'm trying not to be offended by the fact that she wants to leave so badly.  I know it's nothing personal, but I wish she'd be able to be content here.  I have a feeling she'll be quite disappointed if the auction doesn't go through again.  Rapunzel and I will be there to wipe her tears away if that happens, though.

I haven't seen much of Faith since my last post.  I think she wanted to give Emilie a chance to get settled in with us before she came visiting again.  Her new daughter should be arriving any day now...I hope she lets me know when she gets here. :)

I think that's about all for now.  I hope to have a "real" post up (with pictures) within the next week or so.  Thank you for your patience, everyone. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Header and a Few Updates

Hello, dear readers.  I just wanted to quickly update you on a couple of things.  First off, Emilie is happily settled in this morning after our exciting night last night (which I just finished writing about in my previous post).  We are so happy to have her with us again.

I have some other exciting news:  Belle's Bulletins now has an official Facebook page! :D  You can see it HERE.  Please spread the word and "like" us, if you are interested.  I haven't posted much yet...Beast'sbelle, Tess, Maggie, and I are all still trying to learn the ropes over there. :}

Also, it's time to change my header again, so I wanted to include a copy of my previous header here:

I'm going to miss this makes me feel all warm and happy inside. ;)  

Until next time, my dear readers, I hope you all have a lovely weekend. :)

Emilie's Return

The days crawled by, and still there was no word from either Beast'sbelle or Faith.  I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever have an answer!

Robby was his usual calm, rational self, assuring me to be patient, but I could see in his eyes that he was anxious about the whole situation too, even though he tried to hide it and be the strong one in the scenario. ;)

Then, last night, just when I was about to climb down the curio and find Beast'sbelle myself, Robby gripped my hand.  He was looking at the end of the curio.  Slowly, I turned, feeling lightheaded.

Faith was there, and she had Emilie with her!

Emilie looked ready to burst with excitement.  She was still holding Posy close to her.  The instant I saw the look on her face, I knew that she was ours.

It was suddenly hard to breathe.  Robby and I stood up, and I spread my arms out.  Emilie came running.

I've never been more thankful to hold a child in my arms than I was at that moment.  Emilie clung to me like she'd never let go again.

Honestly, I can't even remember what we said.  It was one of those moments where the words themselves weren't important...but the emotion of that moment still takes my breath away.  To have a child returned to you is an indescribable thing.

After a while, Robby led Emilie over to Eugene, Rapunzel, and the babies so she could say hello.  I decided to take the opportunity to talk to Faith, who was looking pretty weepy.

I approached her timidly, picking up Emilie's rabbit that she'd dropped.  "Faith, thank you so much for being willing to do this," I told her sincerely. 

She nodded, desperately trying to look brave and stoic.  "It was the right thing to do," she responded, sounding as if she was trying to remind herself of the fact.  She clasped her hands together and gave me a wobbly smile.  "Mrs...that is...Beast'sbelle has already found us another daughter.  She should be here within a few days."

"I'm so glad!" I told her, relieved that Beast'sbelle was stepping up to the plate and trying to fix her mistake.  

"Beast'sbelle handled the whole situation, by the way," Faith informed me.  "She did everything very tastefully and didn't make Emilie feel pressured either way."

"Good to hear," I said, still trying to work through my bitterness over Beast'sbelle's hand in the whole situation.  

Faith must have read something in my tone.  "Belle, I really wish you would talk to her.  If you just listened to her side of things, I'm sure it would help."

"Well," I said reluctantly, "I suppose I could...sometime."  I was beginning to feel a little guilty about everything and how long I'd carried this grudge in my little plastic heart.  But it was uncomfortable to think about that now.   

"I want you to know," I said to Faith, changing the subject, "that you and your family are welcome to come visit us anytime."

Faith's eyes were wet.  "Thank you, Belle, that means a lot."  She gave me an impulsive hug.

When we pulled away, she wiped her eyes and straightened her hair.  "I should go," she said.  "Will and Beth are waiting for me."

"We'd love to meet them sometime, too," I encouraged her.

Faith smiled.  "You will.  I'll see you later, Belle." 

I stayed just long enough to watch her disappear over the edge of the curio, but before I could turn and go back to my family, another head popped over the edge.

"Isabella!" I cried happily.  "It's been ages since I've seen you!"

My fashionable friend gave me a sweet smile.  "Forgive me, Belle.  It's been a bit difficult to leave the doll shelf."

I loved the way Isabella's words rolled off her tongue so gracefully.  I found myself once again wishing that I had a cool French accent like hers.

My friend's eyes suddenly sparkled with approval.  "What is this?" she cried excitedly.  "You are wearing a new gown, no?  C'est magnifique!!"

I blushed as she prompted me to spread my arms and turn for her.

"Blue is a lovely color for you," she said warmly.  "And the pink brings out the lovely blush of your skin tone."

I didn't like all of the attention.  "You look great too, as always," I told her quickly.

Isabella looked downcast.  "I would look much better if I was not wearing the same style I've been wearing for the past 2 months!  I have not had access to my extra accessories for so long.  It is so disappointing to have nearly 100 fashion options available and to not be able to get to them!"

I tried to hide a smile at this "tragedy".  I knew how important fashion and variety were to my friend.   

"But enough of that!" Isabella told herself impatiently.  "I had heard that little Emilie was returned to you, and I wanted to offer my congratulations!"

I was surprised.  "How did you know about Emilie and all that, Isabella?  I never even had a chance to tell you!"

Isabella looked sympathetic.  "Rapunzel kept me informed.  And when I saw Faith go by, I asked her about the outcome."

I was surprised at Isabella's forwardness, but barely had time to think about this information when my friend continued.  "I also came to tell you that...I'm leaving.  At least, I was supposed to be leaving.  Now I'm not so sure."

"What do you mean?" I asked her, alarmed at this sudden announcement.

She sighed.  "A while ago, I came across Beast'sbelle and noticed that she looked perplexed.  I asked her what was wrong, and she informed me that she was going to have to part with some of us.  Financial trouble, or something like that.  So, I thought about it, and I volunteered to go."

My jaw dropped.  " volunteered?  But why on earth would you want to leave?"

Isabella gazed off wistfully into the distance.  "Belle, I've been here for many years, always confined to my box.  It was only a year ago that Beast'sbelle released me from my cardboard prison, and yet I still feel trapped."  She gave me a shy, sideways glance.  "Things didn't really work out as Beast'sbelle had hoped with Ben."

I swallowed back some angry words.  Here again was another example of how Beast'sbelle's meddling had affected others.

"But it goes beyond that," my friend continued.  "I want to see the world, Belle.  I don't want to stay in the same place all my life.  I want to see exciting places, to travel and experience things, not just stay here in a back bedroom.  So, when Beast'sbelle presented her dilemma, it seemed like the perfect solution."  She looked down at her hands.  "The only problem is, no one bid on me...I think that's the way Beast'sbelle explained it.  On eBay you must have bids or you stay where you are."

I wasn't sure I felt comfortable with the vulgarity of discussing Isabella's eBay bids...or lack thereof, but I could tell she was disappointed.  "So, what happens now?" I asked her.

"Beast'sbelle offered to list me again in her next lot.  If someone bids next time, then I will go.  If not, I suppose I will stay."

"Isabella," I began delicately.  "Are you sure this is such a wise idea?  You may just end up on display in another house, or you may end up being a child's toy and losing your accessories and clothing and having messy hair."

Isabella's face betrayed her horror at this thought, but she quickly composed herself, and a determined look came over her features.  "It's worth the risk," she stated firmly.  "I can't stay here forever."

I almost felt like I should be hurt by this statement, but I knew Isabella meant no offense.  I knew what it was like to feel restless and trapped.  I just hoped my friend knew what she was doing.  

"Well, I wish you the best," I finally told her, giving her a hug.

"Thank you, Belle," she replied, hugging me back.  She pulled away and looked into my face worriedly.  "I hope you understand."

I nodded.  "I do...I'm just in a very different place right now."  I thought with pleasure of the prospect of a quiet evening on the curio with my husband...and my daughter.  A smile found my lips at the word.  I was a mother.  The thing I'd worried about and dreaded had come true, and I couldn't be happier.

Isabella seemed to follow my train of thought.  She gave me a knowing smile and squeezed my hand before going.

I stood there for a moment, watching her make her way across the room.  Life would be different without my fashionable friend.  If she got her ticket out of here, I hope she found all that she was looking for.

But my thoughts didn't stay with her for long.  My family was waiting for me.

As we sat together that evening, the wonder of it all overwhelmed me.  Robby holding my hand, looking at me warmly, then gazing at our daughter with adoration; Emilie clinging to me in her excitement; the joy that bubbled up from somewhere deep inside...this was a night I never wanted to forget, for as long as I lived.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Still Waiting...

Hello, dear readers, just a quick post today.  I know I left you all on pins and needles last time, and you're all probably wondering what ever happened with Emilie.

Well, I'm wondering too!

Unfortunately, Beast'sbelle's entire family was hit with the flu this week, including Beast'sbelle herself.  As a result, none of us have had a chance to talk to her about talking to Emilie.  Faith gave us her apologies a few days ago and said she'd have to try again once everyone was feeling better.

Only one of Beast'sbelle's girls is still sick now, and Beast'sbelle herself is feeling better, so once she gets done taking care of everyone, hopefully we can get this whole business settled.  It's been torturous for everyone involved.  Even if Emilie ends up choosing to stay with Faith and her husband, at least we'd know for sure and be able to move on.  I have to admit, though, I have high hopes for the outcome of this scenario.

I'd keep my fingers crossed...if I could. :}  I'll be sure to post as soon as I know more.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Glimmer of Bittersweet Hope

This past week was torturous.  I can't even describe how emotionally drained I feel right now.  Thank you for all of your kind comments, dear readers.  They've helped me carry on.

Things were pretty quiet after Emilie's sudden departure, aside from some rearranging of our curio top by Beast'sbelle.  I'm not sure why she thought this week was the best week to start moving things around, but as we all know, sound judgement does not appear to be her strong suite. 

I'm sorry, I really should stop that.  I'm angry at her, but I don't need to be unfair.  She's tried to talk to me several times this week, but I haven't been ready to sit down for a heart to heart just yet.  After yesterday, though, I find my resolve is weakening.  A little.

But I'm getting ahead of myself!

Eugene and Rapunzel felt our pain, but there wasn't much they could do.  They tried to be available when we needed them and give us some space when we needed that more.  Yesterday was one of those days, so early in the afternoon, Eugene and Rapunzel took their girls for a walk to the living room.  (With school back in session, we have a little more freedom to wander around the house, as long as we listen for the car pulling in the driveway and have plenty of time to get back to our places.)

Robby and I had been sitting quietly together for a few moments when he leaned over.  "Do you need anything?  Lunch?  A book to read?"

I shook my head, trying to not feel angry at his simple question.  The only thing I needed was Emilie, thank you very much!  Then I felt a twinge of my conscience at my rude thoughts.  I rubbed my head and looked away from my husband.

"What is it?" he asked gently.

I sighed.  "I just...I feel so foolish," I admitted.  "This week has been really hard..." My voice broke, and I took a moment to regain my composure before I continued.  "But I'm beginning to realize that I was part of the problem, just like Ella told me in the comments on the blog."

Robby wisely remained silent and let me continue.

"I'm still angry at Beast'sbelle," I stated firmly, feeling a surge of anger just saying the words.  "I think she grossly misjudged the situation and put us all in a horrible position with her thoughtlessness."  I paused.  "But...if I wouldn't have been so quick to assume that she was trying to force us into parenthood, if I would have just taken her words at face value...I still probably would have gotten attached to Emilie, and it still would have been hard, but I would have constantly had the fact that she was for someone else in the back of my mind.  I don't know, maybe it would have helped, at least a little bit."

"I'm afraid I got a bit carried away myself," Robby admitted.

I hid a smile at the thought of my steady husband getting "carried away", but I knew what he meant.

"She was one special little gal," he continued.  "We connected on a level that I didn't think was possible.  But that wasn't Beast'sbelle's fault."

He took my hand.  "I wish you'd talk to her, sweetheart.  She wants nothing more than to make things right."

I gently pulled away from him, pretending to fix the hem of my dress so I wouldn't hurt his feelings.  "I know, Robby, but I just can't yet.  I'm still too mad.  She should have known what this would lead to.  She should have..."

I was interrupted by the noise of someone clearing their throat behind us.  Robby and I both turned to see who it was.

At the end of the curio, just where Emilie had stood last week when she said goodbye, was a doll I'd never seen before.  

She had dark brown hair and a kind-looking face that, at the moment, seemed pinched and worried.  I also noticed that she was wearing the dress that Rapunzel had worn to my wedding.  I wondered if Beast'sbelle had asked her to lend it for the festivities.  (I know, a random thought in the middle of such a strange situation, but haven't any of you ever done that?)

The doll looked nervous at the sight of the two of us gaping at her.  

"I'm sorry to bother you," she said softly, "but are you...Belle and Robby?"

"Yes," I responded curiously.  

Robby slowly raised himself up to a standing position.  He believed in the importance of acting like a gentleman, especially when there was a new doll in the room.

"I'm Faith," the doll went on, rubbing her hands together nervously.  "Emilie's...well...Mrs. H found Emilie for us."

Robby and I both froze at the same time.  So this was Emilie's adopted mother.  Then I wrinkled my nose.  "Mrs. H?"

"Yes," Faith said, nodding.  "You know, the mistress of the house?  I believe you call her 'Beast'sbelle'."

I supposed it would be rather silly for a Barbie to call Beast'sbelle by the name we called her, but still...Mrs. H?  It made her sound ancient!

I didn't have time to muse over that, though.  What on earth could Faith want from us?

"Won't you have a seat?" I asked her politely, scooting over so she had room by the Princess tin that now took up a portion of our curio top.

Faith nodded and gingerly sat where I had been.

Robby sat down next to me again and put his arm around me.  Faith couldn't seem to look at us.  I glanced over at Robby and saw the same curiosity in his face that I knew must be in mine.  What was she doing here?

Several moments passed, and still our visitor said nothing.  I decided to break the ice, or address the elephant in the room, as you humans like to say.

"How..." I paused.  I hadn't thought my question would be so difficult.  "How is Emilie?"

Faith finally turned toward us at my words.  Her eyes looked strangely dull.  "Emilie is...having a hard time." Each word seemed to pain her.

"What do you mean?" Robby asked, his voice full of concern.

Faith sighed and began fiddling with the material on her skirt.  "This is so hard.  I'm's been a very rough week." She looked up at us with sympathy.  "I know it's been a difficult week for you as well."  Her eyes went back to her hands.  "The truth is, Emilie is not doing well.  She won't eat, she can't sleep, she refuses to let go of Posy, her fuzzy rabbit."

Faith took a moment to wipe her eyes.  Her voice trembled when she continued.  "She cries constantly.  We've done everything we can to make her feel welcome, but nothing seems to help."

I wasn't sure what to think at this news.  A very small part of me was overjoyed that Robby and I obviously meant so much to Emilie, but that joy was quickly overshadowed by concern for Emilie's well-being and compassion for the doll before me.  Faith looked like she'd had just as horrid of a week as I'd had.

"Now I know," Faith continued, taking a deep breath, "that she will eventually adjust.  We can provide her with a good home and an older sister who loves her already."  Her face crinkled up at this last part, and she had to wait a moment before she could go on.  "But we want what's best for Emilie."  She managed a smile that was almost a grimace from the effort of keeping back tears.  "She talks about you two constantly.  It seems she formed a very special bond with you."  

Faith took another moment.  "I'm sorry," she half laughed, half sobbed.  "This is one of the hardest things I've had to do, but I'll get it all out eventually."

I didn't know what to say, so I just sat and waited.

"Mrs. H explained what happened with you two and Emilie to me," Faith said slowly.  "She knew I needed to be aware of the situation in case Emilie had a hard time dealing with it."  She looked off into the distance.  "I've never seen Mrs. H so distraught.  She feels horrible about the whole situation."  She brushed back a stray strand of brown hair.  "I remember how long we waited for our first daughter, and the joy we felt when Beast'sbelle finally found her for us.  I can't imagine how hard it would have been to have her taken away just  as we were getting to know and love her so much.  I know you two weren't looking for a daughter, but I can understand how Emilie would have stolen your hearts...and then she was taken from you."  She shook her head.  "The point is, I want what's best for Emilie, not me...and I think the best thing would be for her come back and stay with you."  The last words ended in a sob.

I took a deep breath, trying to steady myself.  Of course, I wanted Emilie back!  I wanted what was best for her, too.  And I can't even tell you how many times I plotted and schemed about ways to get her away from her new family in the privacy of my thoughts.  But thinking of some random Barbie family that had her instead and seeing this sweet, broken doll before me who actually was part of her new family were two very different things.  For the first time since everything had happened, I thought of things from their point of view. How long had they waited for Beast'sbelle to find them another daughter?  How horrible it must be to have the little one you'd waited for for so long do nothing but talk about the couple she'd been with before.

I glanced over at Robby, wondering what he thought.  I could see the sorrow and compassion in his eyes, the same hesitancy to gain from this doll's misery.  What could we do?


And then it hit me.  I cleared my throat nervously.  "Faith, Robby and I love Emilie with all our hearts, but we want what's best for her too.  I think it should be her decision."  I could tell by the gentle squeeze Robby gave me that he approved.

Then my husband added, "We need to make it as easy as possible for her, though.  Maybe Beast'sbelle would be willing to talk to her without any of us around.  We don't want her to feel pressured into making a decision either way, and I think having us there when she was asked would be too hard for her."  

"That sounds reasonable," Faith agreed, wiping her eyes once more.  "I'll see if Mrs. H...I mean, Beast'sbelle would be willing to talk to her."

She slowly got to her feet.  "I should be getting back.  Will and the girls will be worried about me.  Thank you for your time."

And without another word, she turned and started for the edge of the curio.  There was such a solemn, dismal look to her posture that my heart went out to her.  Really, if things continued in this fashion, it was very likely that Emilie would be coming back to us, and Faith knew it.

I jumped up from my spot, rushed over, and tapped her shoulder.  "Faith?"

She turned.  "Yes?"

Now that I was here, I'd suddenly run out of words.  "I...I just wanted to thank you.  I know how hard that must have been."

Faith nodded.  "This has been a horrid situation for all of us, I think."

On impulse, I sprang forward and gave her a hug.  I know it was a bit forward of me, but I just felt so sorry for her, so grateful for her sacrifice, so worried about the outcome, and so connected to her through our shared sorrow, that it all came out in a hug.

She seemed a bit shocked by my behavior at first, but within moments, she hugged me back.  For a moment, we were just two dolls, hurting and drawing comfort from each other, without the complication of our situation.

The moment passed, but I had a feeling that Faith and I would always have a special connection after this.  My new friend waved as she left.  "I'll let you know what Beast'sbelle says," she told us as she swung over the edge.

After she left, I made my way back to Robby.  He took me into his lap and stroked my cheek tenderly.  "I'm so proud of the way you handled that," he said.

"I feel so muddled right now I'm not even sure of myself," I admitted.  "I never really thought of Emilie's new family until now.  I think they almost have it worse than we do!"

Robby nodded.  "It was very brave of her to make the offer she did."

I leaned over and put my head on his shoulder.  "I don't know if I could have handled the situation that gracefully...especially considering the way I've been moping and carrying on this week."

Robby played with the ends of my hair.  "It was a serious loss," he assured me.  "You had every right to be upset.  Just don't let bitterness and anger poison your thinking.  That's when you can't ever move on from the hardships you face."

"You make it look so easy," I grumbled playfully.

Robby shook his head, quite serious in spite of my teasing.  "I'm a long way from perfect, Belle.  I was very angry with Beast'sbelle too."

I remembered the set of his jaw and the look in his eyes on the day Emilie left.

"But Beast'sbelle's error was not intentional, and I know I'd want to be forgiven if I was in her shoes."

I sighed.  "Point taken, dear.  I know what I need to do...I just...I still need some time."

"Don't let it go too long," he whispered into my hair.  "You never know how long you have with the ones you love.  You can't let disputes and disagreements constantly get in the way of your relationships, or one day, you'll regret that you never got to make it right."

I knew my husband spoke wisely.  How could I, of all dolls, forget this lesson after I almost missed the chance to apologize to Robby after our first big argument?  But I'm ashamed to say that I needed time to think about his words.  I still didn't want to forgive Beast'sbelle...not yet.

In the meantime, I'd be waiting on pins and needles to hear what happened with our precious Emilie.  Although, even if she ended up coming back, I knew her return would be bittersweet.  I would know that our happiness was causing pain for another family. :(

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas, New Year's, and Emilie Part 2

(Click HERE for Part 1 if you haven't read it already.)

The rest of the week passed rather uneventfully, although I discussed a few things about Emilie with Robby.

"Robby, have you noticed that Emilie sometimes has a hard time standing up?" I asked him quietly a few days after Christmas, when Emilie was over playing with Baby Abigail.  

He nodded.  "I noticed it right away.  I think one of her legs is shorter than the other one."

This is known to happen, of course.  A faulty plastic mold, an error in the production line, and some poor doll has to suffer the consequences for the rest of their plastic lives.  Rosamonde, Beast'sbelle's 2012 Disney Store Rapunzel doll, has a hip condition due to faulty manufacturing.

I wondered if this was one of the reasons why Robby connected with Emilie so quickly.  Emilie was a sweetheart, but I'd noticed she was a bit clumsy because of her leg problem, and struggled with some tasks that other plastic children would have no problem with.  And having arms molded in such a strange fashion gave her other difficulties as well.  Robby would understand her challenges better than anyone.

"It wouldn't necessarily be easy being a parent," I said thoughtfully.

Robby's head shot in my direction.  "But?" he asked, hearing my unfinished sentence.

"But I think I'd like to try," I admitted slowly, turning to face him.

His face lit up.  "Darling, do you really mean it?"

I laughed, and for some reason, felt tears rolling down my face.  Why must I always cry at everything?  "Yes, I mean it," I told him, putting my arms around his neck.

He held me tightly.  "Oh, Belle, I didn't want to push you, but I'm so glad!"  He pulled back and caressed my face with his hand.  "I love Emilie like she's my own daughter.  I couldn't stand the thought of saying goodbye to her."

"Me too," I admitted, crying again.

He laughed and wiped my tears away.  He laughed again when I wiped away his.  He hadn't realized he'd been crying too.

"When should we tell her?" I asked him.

"We should probably wait until Beast'sbelle gets back," he told me.

"That makes sense," I agreed.  "It's going to be so hard not saying anything, though!"

"I know," he said.  "I think it's for the best, though."

We sat holding hands and holding back giddy laughter for the rest of the day.  I was worried that Emilie would be able to tell what we were thinking just by looking at us!  It was agonizing waiting for Beast'sbelle to get back.

Beast'sbelle returned a few days later, but with all of the unpacking, laundry, and everything else she had to do, it was nearly impossible to catch her.  Robby and I both tried several times to talk to her about Emilie, but each attempt ended in failure.  We were determined, though.  In our minds, Emilie was our daughter already.  We just wanted to make sure we could make it official.

I wasn't too worried.  I was sure that this had been Beast'sbelle's scheme all along.

Meanwhile, we all decided to celebrate New Year's Eve together.  Robby and Eugene had, with Beast'sbelle's help, found two new dresses for Rapunzel and I to wear.  They had considered giving them to us for Christmas, but decided to keep the focus on the children this year.  So Rapunzel and I got New Year's gifts instead. ;)

We hurried over to the dressing room with our new frocks and came back feeling quite elegant indeed.

Our audience seemed to approve, if the looks on our husbands' faces were any indicator. ;)  I must confess, while I loved my dress overall, I'm not really comfortable in strapless dresses.  I wish that mine had sleeves or something.  At least it had clear plastic straps to hold the dress in place, but it still didn't feel very modest.  

"You girls look great!" Eugene said.  "Especially you, Babe," he directed at Rapunzel.  Then he looked back at me.  "No offense, Belle."  

"None taken," I assured him with a wink.  "I would hope you liked your wife's dress better."  I turned to Robby.  "How about you, Hon?  What do you think?"

He gave me a warm smile.  "I think you look amazing."

I blushed and decided to change the subject.  I didn't like being the center of attention.  "I love how nicely Rapunzel's necklace complements her dress."

Robby knew my games but nodded as if he were truly interested in the subject of my friend's jewelry.

"I just wish the Disney Store had made this dress a wee bit looser," Rapunzel whispered in my ear.  "I can't breathe!"

"You look great, though," I teased her quietly.

"Don't tell Eugene," she whispered again urgently.  "I don't want to hurt his feelings."

I smiled at my sensitive friend.  Apparently I wasn't the only one who had a hard time being completely open with my husband.  "I won't say anything," I assured her.  "But if you're really that uncomfortable, I think he'd want to know."

Rapunzel didn't look convinced.  Then she looked at me coyly.  "I'll tell my husband my dress is too tight if you tell your husband you're not comfortable in strapless dresses."


Before the guys could ask what we were whispering about, I stepped away from Rapunzel and approached Robby and Emilie.  The latter jumped up from her spot and leaned up against me.

"You look really pretty!" she told me shyly.

My heart melted.  Robby and I exchanged a look that said the same thing:  I wish we could tell her now!

I bent down and picked Emilie up.  "Thank you, Sweetie," I told her.  "I'm glad you like my dress."

"You know what I like best about it?" she asked me.

"What's that?"

"Now we match!" she said excitedly.  

I laughed.  I hadn't thought about it, but she was right.  Maybe we should ask Beast'sbelle to take a family photo sometime.  Emilie and I could wear our white dresses, I thought.

Rapunzel looked on with a look of adoration.  After the girls had gone to sleep last night, Robby and I had told Eugene and Rapunzel our plan to adopt Emilie.  They were thrilled for us.

We didn't do much for New Year's Eve.  We just sat and talked, visiting with each other.  Emilie played with her fuzzy rabbit, which she had named Posy (she hadn't put it down since Christmas!), the babies cooed and laughed, and the couples cuddled up together.  I hoped with all my heart that we'd have a chance to talk to Beast'sbelle tomorrow.  A new year, a new seemed perfect.

The next morning, we all woke up when Beast'sbelle turned the bright overhead light on.  It was so sudden that it took us a while to get our bearings.  Then, Beast'sbelle uttered the words that shattered our dreamland.

"Hi guys!  Hope you had a great New Year's.  Just wanted to let you know that it'll be time for Emilie to go in a few hours."

I was in utter shock.  What?  This couldn't be happening!  Emilie was actually leaving?  Really?

Robby cleared his throat.  "I...don't understand," he said in a voice that didn't sound like his own. 

Beast'sbelle paused, most likely seeing from our faces that we were shaken by her words.  "I'm here to get Emilie.  Remember, I said she was just here for the holidays?  I have a Barbie family for her, but they couldn't take her until after New Year's Eve."

Emilie clung to her stuffed rabbit and pressed herself against Robby.  

I felt like I was in a thick fog.  It was our worst nightmare coming true.  Could it be that Beast'sbelle really had just needed a place for Emilie for the holidays?  But why on earth would she do this to all of us?  

"Couldn't..." I began, trying to find my voice.  "Couldn't Emilie stay for a while longer?  We don't mind."  And in the meantime, we'll figure out a way to make this work, I thought to myself.  We couldn't give her up, we just couldn't!

Beast'sbelle looked genuinely apologetic.  "I'm sorry, Belle, but Emilie's new family is eager to meet her.  This was the day we agreed on."

"Why didn't you tell us any of this?" I asked numbly.

"I...I guess I didn't think about it," Beast'sbelle said stupidly.  "I'm sorry, I should have explained things better.  I was just in the middle of so much with Christmas and all..."

...that you decided to toy with our emotions like your little playthings! I finished for her venomously.  I had never been more angry and upset in my whole life.  How could she do this to us?!  How could she not have thought through the ramifications of this scenario?

I was suddenly aware of how quiet things were from the other side of the curio, where Rapunzel and Eugene sat with their daughters.  This was one of those times when it was very uncomfortable sharing a living space with one's friends.

Beast'sbelle stood there awkwardly, observing Emilie's sorrowful cowering, Robby's clenched jaw, and my stony silence.  The realization of the chaos she'd created seemed to sink in.  "I'm...really, really sorry about all of this, guys.  It seemed like a great solution at the time...maybe I misjudged the situation."

Ya think? I wanted to shout at her, but I bit my lip to keep from saying it.  I wouldn't be a good example for Emilie if I started yelling at our human.

Robby didn't say anything either, but his face looked more fierce than I'd ever seen it before.  It was actually a little scary.

"I'm sorry," Beast'sbelle said again helplessly.  "I'll be back in a bit to get her."  She left the room, no doubt knowing that she was not the most welcome guest at the moment.

Those few hours were the most horrible of my life, aside from the time when I thought Robby might not make it last year.  What good were a few hours when we would soon be saying goodbye to the little one who had made the last couple of weeks so precious?  And it's not as if we could enjoy the time together.  The slap of reality from Beast'sbelle had ruined all that.  Eugene and Rapunzel wisely kept their distance, but we knew that they would be there at a moment's notice if we needed them.

All too soon, Beast'sbelle returned, and the horrible goodbyes began.  Robby blinked back tears as Emilie hugged him.  

"I love you, Robby," she whispered brokenly, repeating the words that had brought him such joy on our snow day.  

His tears ran down his cheeks as he pulled her close.  "I love you too, Emilie.  It was wonderful getting to know you."

Then it was my turn.  There she stood, clinging to the fuzzy rabbit we'd given her and looking at me like a lost puppy.  How could I possibly say goodbye?  How would I ever recover from losing her?

She leaned in and gave me a tight squeeze.  "I love you, Belle," she said shyly.

And then, of course, my own eyes were wet.  "I love you too, Emilie," I told her, stroking her back.  "Thank you for spending Christmas and New Year's with us."

She stepped to the edge of the curio and looked back at us one last time.  I blinked and smiled bravely.  Robby gave a weak little wave.  And then she was gone.

Once Beast'sbelle took her, I turned around, wrapped my arms around Robby's neck, and sobbed harder than I ever had before.  I felt like a part of me had been ripped away.  And I never wanted to speak to Beast'sbelle again.


It's been a very difficult 4 days since Emilie left.  Robby and I have tried to pick up the pieces and move on as best as we can.  We know that the family she was placed with is somewhere in the house.  It's almost worse knowing that someday we might run across her with her new family.  

Beast'sbelle has tried to come in to talk to us, but I've refused to see her.  Robby has been civil, but even my sweet, forgiving husband has had a hard time with the way Beast'sbelle handled everything.  

Part of me holds out hope that something will fall through with Emilie's new family, or that perhaps Robby and I could find them and talk to them and convince them that Emilie belongs with us.  But I know that it's all a foolish dream.  She's gone, she was never ours to begin with.  We shouldn't have gotten so attached.  But what do we do now?

I'm so sorry to leave this on such a sad note, when normally I try to be upbeat and happy.  I'm just still reeling from the shock and hurt of it all.  I miss my little girl.  I think I'll always think of her as our daughter, even though we only knew her for a little while.  And I'm not really sure how to cope with this loss.

I'll try to update you on the situation if I hear anything, but I might take a bit of a break from blogging for a while.  Robby and I need some time to heal, and I don't want this blog to become ranty or weepy with every post.  

Until next time, dear readers.