There are certain activities that we all seem to look forward to, and I suppose its different for everyone. Some may look forward with great anticipation to a certain holiday, others to a family vacation, and yet someone else may be on pins and needles waiting for the upcoming college football season to begin. For us I suppose its a little bit of all those things, but one thing I don't think we anticipated when Madeline passed away would be what I call the "firsts". The "firsts" can be very difficult when its obvious someone is missing, whether its the first holiday, the first vacation, or especially the first birthday. We just returned home from another "first", it was our first family camping trip without Madeline. Like most of our previous 'firsts' there was some anxiety, some tenderness, and even some anger that she would not be with us, but we forged ahead.
Just a little excited about camping
After getting the tent trailer out of storage and making a few minor repairs we packed up and headed to St. Charles Canyon in Idaho. Its a family favorite from years past when children were smaller and watching squirrels and chipmunks can entertain for hours. I was amazed at how small rodents are still entertaining to grown up children and their mom. I was also amazed at the sweetness of past memories spent with our children in this beautiful alpine setting as well as the sandy shores of Bear Lake's north beach. It was a wonderful tribute to time spent together as a family as past memories continued to tug on our sentimental heartstrings and new memories blossomed with our ever changing family. I was also surprised to see that children, even those classified as grown up still argue and complain about minor inconveniences and differences of opinion as well as get super excited about campfires, marshmallow's and melting chocolate.
Our friend Chunky
We couldn't help but see and feel Madey's influence throughout our trip, whether it was the young moose we saw while driving through Logan Canyon which immediately reminded us of Madey's souvenir hat and t-shirt from our last family trip to Yellowstone that read "cool as moose". Or it may have been the hummingbird that dive bombed our camp on occasion, or the echoes of an unmistakable laugh that sounded off in our trailer during Hillary's demon barbie impression. Whatever it may have been Madey was with us in this "first" just like she has been in all the others.
Enjoying the beach
With a stack of "firsts" behind us, we now find ourselves looking at some "seconds" as well. This coming Thursday July 19th, will be Madeline's 17th birthday, our second celebrated without her. In the spirit of being a difference maker we invite everyone to look for an opportunity to try and make difference in someone else's life this Thursday in memory of Madeline. The best part is you get to decide what you will do to make a difference for someone else on that day, large or small everything we do makes a difference. If you feel like it we would love to have you post a comment on our blog and tell us a little about what you did or a memory you have of Madey making a difference for you.
Madey alwasy loved being in the trailer
As a family we continue to be blessed by the powerful example that so many of you are to us. We are also blessed by the influence that Madeline left in our home and the understanding that we will have her with us again someday. May the Lord continue to bless each of us in our efforts to make a difference for others.
There is so much that I would like to say to you, I don't know exactly where to begin so I guess I will just jump in. I miss you. I have been thinking about all of the things that are different now that you are in Heavenly Fathers care. The first thing that comes to mind is how quiet our house is, with Lindy living in Logan, and Hillary in Provo its just quiet. There is no girl drama in our house, except for your mom and that's minimal. There are also no basketball shorts, stinky sweat socks, sports bras or sliding shorts on the floor in your room. I miss having you tell Landon all the things he does that bug you. There are about a million and one more things that I could list, I miss hearing you laugh, watching you play ball, car rides home from the game, your lame practical jokes that really never worked, watching you play with Max, listening to you play your guitar and singing at the top of your lungs, what a beautiful voice you have, and how you always cheered for the underdog.
There is so much I would like to know about where you are and what you do, sights, sounds, people you've met, who you spend your time with, how my dad is doing, what your grandparents are up to, the list goes on and on. Since I will have to wait to know all of those things, I suppose I will tell you what is going on here.
Lindy and Cameron are still living in Logan. Lindy has just a year of school left at Utah State and she should graduate in elementary education. I think she will be an awesome grade school teacher, there. will plenty of little boys with teacher crushes on your sister.
Hillary is in Provo at BYU, its a good fit for her. She has finished her first semester and her grades were good, shocking...not, and she has a job on campus that she seems to like a lot.
Landon likes fairfield jr. he is starting to want to go to the mall and shop for stuff like jeans and shirts. He doesn't ask to go to Toy R Us or Chuckie Cheese anymore, he thinks he is a grown up.
Mom is working at Interform now, its a little weird not having her work from home. It has turned her world upside down and inside out. She just finished reading the Book of Mormon so she could get her honor bee, in honor of you.
I have been teaching at Layton again, I see your friends all the time. It still seems strange to watch them and you not be with them. I won't see them much this next semester, they want me to teach at Clearfield starting next week, I think it will be a good move.
I get random emails and people still stop me from time to time to tell me how much you have impacted their lives. When the scriptures teach that "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" I believe that is something you understood more than I knew. I am amazed at the number of people your life has impacted and the impact your memory continues to have on others. Whether it was your smile, your kind and reassuring friendship, your laugh or your willingness to serve, it seems everything you did made a difference for someone. I guess I write that not only because its true but because my life is forever impacted by the privilege it is to be your father. I think I'm a little bit kinder, a little more patient, and a lot more willing to help others because of you.
Now Madey, I just want you and anyone else who cares to know that the separation we are experiencing now is temporary. I know the day will come when our family will all be reunited because of the grace, and mercy of the atonement of Jesus Christ. And wow! what a day that will be!
I love you...no matter what. No matter if you are here or there the love of our family is eternal.
Lindy is a junior at Weber State University, studying English Education. She loves photography, camping, hiking, and spending time with her family. She is the best big sister ever!
Hillary is a junior at Layton High. She's studies a lot (and her grades prove it!) She has a very cheerful disposition and always has a beautiful smile on her face.
Madey is a very athletic young lady with the personality to inspire every one to be their best. She loves basketball, softball, and being silly with her sisters!
Landon is the silliest little brother ever. He loves to play with his friends and he plays hard! His giggle is infectious. He's recently tried out for the school play and got the part of Teddy Roosevelt in "Annie." We're so proud of him!