When I put this item on the list last October, I didn't yet know how our custody arrangement would be settled and the idea of time alone felt novel and needed. Since then I've had a lot of time on my own, and I decided I wanted to check this item off the list with Cadence.
In the spring, her elementary school had a carnival with raffles. Among the raffled packages was a one night stay at the Fairfield Inn. My creativity and resourcefulness kicked in. I figured that there weren't going to be a lot people wanting a free hotel stay in their own home town, so I put two of my six tickets into the Fairfield Inn raffle. Fairfield Inn and swanky may not fit in the same sentence, but I was fond of the idea of getting this more costly item for free. As luck would have it, later that afternoon I got a voicemail message telling me that I had won!
In the spirit of knocking off items in pairs, I reserved the room for the evening after our ice skating adventure. We packed light since we were only a few miles from home. We checked in, checked out our room, and then walked over to the “Crackle Barrel” next door for dinner. I could feel the fatigue of the day sinking in as we looked over our menus, placed our orders, and then waited for our food. We enjoyed our meal, and then headed back to the “Farfield Inn” as Cadence pronounced it for the evening. “This is the best hotel ever!” exclaimed Cadence. She has short-term memory when it comes to hotels. She thinks every one of them is the best one.
We changed into our bathing suits and headed to the pool. I had every intention of getting into the water with Cadence, which was going to be a huge treat to her because I rarely get into any pool. I spend so much of my life feeling chilled or downright cold that the idea of willingly jumping into cold water does not appeal to me in the least.
I dunked my toes in and immediately changed my mind. It was the low moment of the day. I really wanted to honor my promise to swim, but Lord have mercy, the water was so cold. I sat out and watched her splash and play in the water solo. I wasn't proud of my decision, but I wasn't changing it either.
She swam a little longer. I counted her laps as the wind down before we returned to our room. She showered and then got into bed. We set the timer on the television. I climbed into my bed and settled in for the night. It didn't take us long to fall asleep.
The next morning we got up and got ready for her dad to pick her up. She had a fun day planned. She was headed downtown for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I hugged her tight, told her I loved her, and she left for the day.
I returned to my hotel room. I had some time to adjust to being without my daughter on this sunny, warm Thanksgiving Day. I showered, listened to the Avett Brothers as I dressed, and packed my few things away.
The timing of this hotel stay was perfect. I had the distraction of a different place to keep me from being sad on this first holiday without my daughter. Again, this list continues to be a companion and to help form a bridge from my old life to my new.