Good morning, readers! (Well, at least it's still morning here...I suppose it's already the afternoon for some of you!) I apologize for waiting so long to post again. As Maggie explained in her earlier post, it's been rather difficult to use the computer lately. It sounds like the situation may not improve for a while, either. Papa just found out that the problem with the desktop is most likely related to the "motherboard" (whatever that is). He said it will probably cost around $200 to fix the problem. As Mama and Papa aren't made of money, we may have to wait a while before our desktop is up and running again. So please bear with us in the coming weeks. We'll do everything we can to post regularly, but everyone in the house has to work around one laptop computer, so it gets a little difficult to post sometimes. :}
One nice thing about our lack of computer and movie time is that we've all spent more time doing things together. For example, just 2 nights ago, we had a game night in my room and Hailey's room. It was so much fun! We haven't brought out the games in a long time because we've been so busy with everything else. Maggie, Emma, Katie, and I played Bop It in my room, while Rachel, Charlie, Hailey and Piper played Uno in her room.
Maggie, Emma, Katie and I had a very lively game of Bop It together. Of course, that was mostly because of Maggie. She gets so excited when she's playing active games like that, and I must confess that her enthusiasm is contagious! :) It didn't take long before we were all laughing and shrieking, trying to keep up with the demands of the game. It took a while, but we got all the way through the novice level and halfway through expert. Unfortunately, I was the one who messed us up. I hate it when that happens! Thankfully, everyone was very understanding. Even Maggie didn't say anything, although I could tell she was disappointed.
Meanwhile, in Hailey's room, the other girls were in the middle of their Uno game, when Charlie spoke up.
"I can't believe that Hayden may actually be here in another month or so!" she said excitedly. "It will be so fun to finally meet her. Mama is getting all sorts of things ready for her. It makes it hard to wait when I see all of her things set up in our room!"
"How nice for Hayden, that she'll be coming home to a cousin and two sisters," Rachel added gently, watching Piper's face. Rachel, being another quiet doll like Piper and myself, was always watching out for the feelings of others. "I'm sure she'll be so excited to get to know all of you."
Piper gave Rachel a distracted smile, as if trying to thank her for her concern.
"Do you know when Hayden is coming exactly?" Hailey asked Charlie.
Charlie shook her head. "No, Mama mentioned something about a free shipping code and how we have to wait for that. I'm not really sure what she's talking about, to be honest. But Mama did say that Hayden should start her trip sometime in October."
The room grew strangely quiet after that, and the girls continued their game in relative silence.
Later that night, after everyone had gone back to their own rooms, Hailey came and sat on my bed and we talked for a while, as was our nightly tradition. We often felt a little guilty that we had the largest rooms and actual beds, while the other girls had to share smaller rooms. No one seemed to hold it against us, though. Mama had explained to everyone that the reason the rooms were set up the way they were was simply that she had the most furniture for Hailey and me, so our things fit the best on the dresser.
Hailey told me about their Uno game and Piper's reaction to Charlie's news.
"Charlie stayed behind to talk to me after everyone else left," Hailey shared. "She told me it's been really hard for her and Emma. They've had a tough time figuring out how to be sensitive to Piper's feelings. I mean, they're both so excited to meet Hayden, and that doesn't mean they love Piper any less. But every time they bring Hayden up, Piper acts really funny."
"Funny?" I questioned.
"Well, you know, like tonight," Hailey explained. "Quiet, somber, and sad. She's hard to read anyway because she's so quiet, but even with that, you can tell she's having a hard time with the whole situation."
"It's got to be hard for her," I said thoughtfully. "She's found out that she's not who she thought she was, and no matter how sensitive everyone is, I'm sure it's easy for her to think of Hayden as her 'replacement'. Not that Mama or Emma or Charlie would ever think of it that way. I think even Piper would admit it wasn't the case, but it's hard to keep your feelings from interfering with reality."
"Charlie's really excited about seeing Hayden," Hailey continued. "Do you think she'll even have time for me when her sister comes? I mean, we are best friends and all, but I'm worried that Hayden will be more important to her than I am."
I smiled. "Hailey, you'll always be special to Charlie. She's just excited about finally getting to meet her sister. She may want to spend a lot of time with Hayden at first, but she won't forget you. Just think how you would feel if you got a chance to meet Ella again. Would it make you love Charlie any less?"
Hailey was silent for a while. Then, in a small voice, she asked, "Tess...do you still miss Ella?"
I swallowed hard. Tears stung my eyes at the thought of my littlest sister. "Of course I do," I said gently. "We'll always miss her, Hailey. She's a part of us."
Hailey sighed. "It's been so long since she left. Sometimes, I try not to think about her at all because it still hurts so much to be without her. And...I think all of this talk about Hayden coming has made me think of Ella even more." Hailey's lip trembled. "I hope she's happy. I hope she's being taken care of, and that she's found whatever she was looking for..." Her voice broke. I could see tiny tears spilling onto her cheeks.
I moved from my spot at the head of the bed and sat next to Hailey, putting a comforting arm around her shoulders. "It's okay, Hailey. It's going to be okay." I felt like I was trying to reassure myself as much as I was trying to reassure her. "I'm sure that wherever she is, she's very happy. But I'm sure she still misses us, too."
"Then why did she have to leave us?" Hailey whimpered pitifully. "Why couldn't she have stayed here with us?"
"I don't know," I said hopelessly. "Some things we'll never know. Mama says that God knows everything, though, and His plan is always right." I thought of the picture I still had of the three of us at Christmas time: Hailey, Ella and I in our Christmas dresses at the foot of Mama's big tree. I had finally put it away because it was too hard to look at it anymore. Hailey wasn't the only one who missed Ella. She wasn't the only one with unanswered questions. But I knew that we had to trust that she was okay, and that hopefully someday we'd hear from her again.
I could tell Hailey was getting tired, so we moved to the head of my bed and snuggled together. "Let's count our blessings, shall we?" I whispered comfortingly. "We have so many things that other dolls don't."
With a deep, shuddering breath, Hailey swallowed her tears and started a list with me. I wished I could make things easier for her. For that matter, I wished I could make things easier for myself! I hated feeling so helpless and powerless. All I knew was that I planned to cherish every moment I had with Hailey. I didn't want to take her for granted...ever.