I know I'm a little late for a Thanksgiving post, but I've been meaning to get around to it, so here I am. This year was quite uneventful (in a good way). I have to say, that unlike Halloween, it was easier to get through this Thanksgiving than last year's. I still have so much to be grateful for and I've learned to really focus on those things because you never know when one of them will be taken in an instant. I've become so aware that no matter how bad life can be or seem, it can definitely always get worse. So I'm trying to keep gratitude in my heart and enjoy my family the most because everything else is just material things. I mean, don't get me wrong, they're nice to have, but most can be replaced...people, family, cannot...Ever.
We always go to a little town called Solvang, up near Santa Barbara, each year from the Friday to Sunday after Thanksgiving. Last year was literally excruciating for me. I wrote a post about it back then, but haven't gone back to read it. Actually, I haven't gone back to read any of my posts yet because each and every memory and moment is still much too painful for me to relive...even the positive ones. The emotions attached are still so strong. I guess that's why this blog is good for me. One day I'll be able to go back and relive this journey, but for now, I'm just getting through every "today."
Anyways, back to Solvang. Last year I remember walking through all the little shops reminiscing about Hailey and wondering what she would have been doing. It had only been three months since she had passed away, so as you can imagine the emotions were still very fresh and raw. It took all I had to keep from breaking down into hysterical sobs at each new Christmas song I heard. Eventually the pain did become too great and I completely broke down. I sat outside in the courtyard of our hotel and cried hysterically. It was tough. Just writing about the memory makes my eyes well with tears.
But this year was different. It was a little easier, which I hate to say or admit because in a lot of ways it scares me. I'm so torn because I relish those days where the agony isn't so profound because the relief is much needed, but on the other hand, I dread them because I'm so afraid it means I might be "getting over it." Of course, I'll NEVER get over it, but this is just uncharted territory that I'm not used to dealing with.
So, while in Solvang, of course, I was looking for my dime. I kept begging Hailey to send me a dime so I knew she was there and was going to continue to join us every year, even if only to drop off that little token of love. As I walked through the little streets and shops my eyes were crazily scanning the ground the entire time, but to no avail. So I was pretty bummed, to say the least. I was also a little worried that maybe she was forgetting about us.
Later in the evening, Sean, my sister, and I decided to check out an Indian Casino down the street. (Thanks Mom and Dad for babysitting!) I instantly perked up because I thought if there was anywhere I was bound to find a dime, it was in a casino. Well, I quickly discovered that technology has also taken over the casino world and no machines took coins. Seriously? Not to mention, they had no dime slot machines, only pennies, nickels, and quarters. Every machine only takes bills and whatever you win comes out in a receipt that you have to cash in...no more jingling of the coins as they all pour out. My hopes were dashed. But...knowing Hailey, I should have had a little more faith. After about a half hour there, Kim went and found a quarter slot machine she wanted to play. I sat down next to her to watch. After about 5 minutes I happened to look down and see a white receipt in the bottom of the machine. I asked her if it was hers and she said it wasn't and that she hadn't even notice it. So, I picked it up hoping it was someone's million dollar winnings. Well, it was way better than that!!! It was for .10!!! Yes, ten cents...a dime, if you will!
I couldn't believe it! What are the odds that we would happen to sit at the one quarter slot with a receipt for 10 cents left there? My spirits soared and I was thrilled for the rest of the trip. (Oh, and I didn't cash it in. I had to keep the proof on that one.)
Way to be creative Hailey! I love you baby girl.