So, you're probably wondering what's been going on in my life in the month since you've heard from me. :} I have more detailed posts planned, but the short version is that we've just been busy with parenting and the everyday events of life. To give you a slight preview, though, Robby and I have a new "room" that may or may not be permanent, Rapunzel and Eugene now have four children (two of them are here temporarily), Emilie got a puppy, Robby and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary, and Ben met someone new. But that's all I can share about that for now...you'll have to keep checking back to get more details. ;)
In my previous posts I mentioned that Faith and I had scheduled a Friday playdate for our daughters. We ended up going through with that plan on Friday, April 26th (goodness, it is horrible how far behind I am...but oops...I said I wouldn't keep saying that). ;) To keep things simple, we decided to meet on Beast'sbelle's bed since it was centrally located and easily accessible.
Right at the scheduled time, Faith arrived their with her two daughters, Beth and her youngest. Emilie's replacement, I thought to myself, though I cringed at how crude the phrase sounded. For just a moment, I imagined Emilie standing there instead of this new little one. This would have been my reality if not for Faith's generous sacrifice.
At that moment, Faith and I locked eyes, and from the look I found there, I knew she was thinking the same thing.
Meanwhile, the girls, oblivious to the intensity of our thoughts, promptly introduced themselves and sat down to play, chattering as if they'd known each other all along.
Beth seemed thrilled to see Emilie again, but there was no trace of sadness in her voice as she proudly introduced "my new little sister, Sara".
There was nothing for Faith and I to do except sit down.
As you can imagine, the first few moments together were pure torture. While we had made a connection over our common grief, the whole situation was awkward and uncomfortable. I was desperate to know how Faith was coping, to make sure that she was okay, but I was worried that it might not be proper for me to ask since I was the one that had ended up with Emilie.
Faith must have been going through a similar struggle. She was just as silent as I was and fiddled with the material on her dress nervously.
Finally, I could stand it no longer. "How are you?" I blurted out in a rush.
She seemed startled by my sudden comment, but let out a long breath as if she was relieved that I had finally been the one to begin our conversation. "I'm fine, thank you," she responded in her quiet voice. "And you?"
"I'm fine too," I answered casually, feeling like I shouldn't respond too happily, as if I was rubbing in the fact that I had ended up with the child meant for her.
Faith nodded and turned to watch our children playing.
Oh, why on earth did I agree to this? I thought miserably. I hated silences in conversations more than anything, and often found myself babbling just to fill them. But that was the one thing I didn't want to do in this case.
I took a cue from Faith and looked over to where the girls were talking up a storm, blissfully unaware of the misery of their mothers.
I could just catch what Beth was saying...something about "my little sister Sara" again. "Sara can count to 100, and she loves to sing, and I think you two should be friends," Beth told Emilie excitedly.
I was relieved that at least Beth seemed to have recovered from the whole ordeal. She looked ready to burst with pride as she listed Sara's good points.
Emilie showed no sign of jealousy at being so easily replaced in Beth's affections. Her eyes were wide as she listened to Sara's accomplishments. "Wow, I can only count to 87," she responded seriously.
I couldn't help chuckling at this, and heard Faith laughing quietly. I casually glanced over at her and found her looking shyly over at me.
"This is horribly awkward, isn't it?' she said with a smile.
I laughed more from relief than anything else. "Incredibly awkward," I agreed, feeling like I could finally relax now that we'd both admitted it. "I didn't want to offend or hurt you...I was so worried I say things the wrong way or make things worse."
Faith looked down at her lap and fingered a loose thread on her skirt. "Belle, when I said I was fine, I meant it." She looked wistfully over at our girls. "A part of me will always miss Emilie, but Sara is just as precious." A smile touched her lips. "And I know that Emilie belongs with you and Robby."
I impulsively grasped her hand in mine. "I'm so glad to hear that," I told her, feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. "I...I hoped you didn't regret your decision."
Faith shook her head, smiling gently. "No," she said. "I know what I did was the best thing for Emilie. It was horrible and hard, but I have no regrets."
And with that comment, at last the barrier had been broken. We moved back on the bed so we could lean against one of Beast'sbelle's decorative pillows and then talked as if we'd been friends for years. We were just two moms sharing the joys and frustrations of parenting, without being hindered by the pain and loss of the past. It would always be a part of our history, but if anything, it would bring us closer. I feel I gained another true friend that day.
And speaking of friends, Sara and Emilie grew so close that first day that they nearly cried when we told them it was time to go. They've written each other weekly since then, and we've had numerous playdates since that first one in April. So two special friendships were formed. :)
I suppose I have enough time for one more quick update.
In early May, Beast'sbelle informed Rapunzel that she had three children that were ready for a temporary home. Eugene and Rapunzel talked it over again and then agreed to take care of them. Rapunzel had been overflowing with confidence and excitement when the subject initially came up, but when I saw her the night before the children were scheduled to arrive, she was suddenly doubting herself.
I had just put Emilie "to bed", for lack of a better term. (We don't actually have a bed for her, so she just snuggles up next to Robby or her rabbit Posy and goes to sleep for the night.) Robby had sent me off to take a walk and have some time to myself, but just as I started past Beast'sbelle's bookshelf, Rapunzel came to meet me. I could instantly tell from her tense expression that something was wrong.
"Rapunzel, what is it?" I asked her, worry instantly gripping me. My friend was so even-keeled that I knew it must be something serious.
She regarded me with serious green eyes. "I think I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew," she admitted.
"You mean with the extra children?" I questioned, feeling a bit guilty that the first thing I wanted to say was I told you so.
Rapunzel nodded miserably. "What we're doing just suddenly hit me. What if we're not ready? We've done all right with Abby and Emma, but these children are older. Beast'sbelle said that the boy is the model of an eleven year old." She adjusted her new LIV fingers (I'm still trying to get used to them) and then pulled part of her braid around so she could play with it nervously. "What on earth am I going to do with a boy that size?"
[Side note here: You might be wondering about Rapunzel's wording about the boy. Dolls don't really age like humans do, so sometimes when we talk about doll children, we say that they're the "model" of whatever age they're molded to look like. This boy was obviously supposed to look like he was about eleven years old, even though he could be anywhere from three to forty in reality. :} I know, it's confusing. Be thankful for your human simplicity.]
It was rather ironic that I was suddenly the level-headed one. It didn't happen often in our relationship, but I was always rather caught off guard when it did. I was quiet for a moment, trying to figure out what I could say that would help. The only comments that came to mind were not helpful, things like "What were you thinking?" or "I was worried about this, you know". Then I felt ashamed of myself. I didn't need to be so negative. Besides, I believed in my friend and admired her for her tender heart. Why should I discourage her from doing something she had felt was the right thing to do? And suddenly, I knew just what to say.
"You and Eugene talked about this, right? I remember you telling me that you both felt it was the right thing to do...a way you could help doll children who needed love and kindness."
Rapunzel nodded, releasing her braid again.
"And it's just temporary," I reminded her. "If it gets too hard, you can tell Beast'sbelle. She'll understand. This isn't forever."
My friend looked down at her hands, her cheeks turning pink. "You're right, of course. I don't know why I got myself so worked up."
"Because it's a big commitment and you care about doing things the right way," I pointed out. I took her hand. "I'm sure you'll be great at this."
A smile that seemed a mile wide spread across my gentle friend's features. She pulled me into a quick hug. "Thanks, Belle. A pep talk from you was just what I needed."
I grinned. "Just returning the favor for all the times you've had one for me."
She laughed as she pulled away. "What are friends for?" A glance at the clock on Beast'sbelle's shelf caused her face to pinch up again. "You should get going...I've wasted enough of your walking time."
"Do you want to come with me?" I asked her. "It is your last night of freedom," I teased.
"Freedom?" she teased back, pretending to be offended. "Let me have you watch the girls for a night and tell me how 'free' I am."
She glanced at the clock one more time, hesitating. "Let me go check with Eugene and see how the girls are doing. If he has everything under control, I'll join you."
I nodded, hoping that she could get away. It had been too long since we'd had the chance to talk without interruption. I missed my friend.
Within moments, she was back, a bright smile on her face. "I'm free!" she announced.
We hurried off on our walk before our husbands or children could call us back. ;)
The very next morning, Beast'sbelle brought Eugene and Rapunzel three more children. Then she took a family photo of them (you know how she is about pictures):
You'll recognize Abby and Emma. (Rapunzel and Eugene finally decided to shorten their names. "Abigail and Emmaline" was becoming quite a mouthful.) ;) The tall young lad you see holding Abby is Thomas, the cute little one with plastic hair next to Emma is Lily, and the adorable blonde in the purple dress is Rebecca, Becca for short.
As it turns out, it's a good thing Beast'sbelle took this photo, because just a week later Lily found another home. So now Rapunzel and Eugene are down to four kids. They seem to be adjusting really well. Thomas is a complete sweetheart and a big helper. He loves helping take care of the girls, and he is completely enamored with Eugene. I'm not sure how my friends will do if Thomas and Becca find new homes as well. I don't think I could ever be a temporary parent, especially after my experience with Emilie, but I know there are some who can do it. I guess time will tell how it works out for Rapunzel and Eugene.
I'd love to update you on the rest, but I really must get to bed. I'll not make any promises this time around about how soon I'll have my next post up, but know that I'll come back and share more as soon as I can. Until next time, good night, dear readers. :)