Monday, July 16, 2012

"Firsts" Continue to Make a Difference

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.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Slaughters!
    I'm so glad I stumbled upon this tonight. This entry is so full of feeling, joy, and real 'family-ness,' that I just wanted to say thanks for sharing and for inviting others to feel it all with you.

    I didn't know it was Madey's birthday on the 19th, but I know exactly what her influence has been on me, and how I can learn from and share it.

    My experience as Madey and Hillary's underqualified Young Women's sports coach was so sweet. Both girls demonstrated such talent, kindness, and cooperation that I looked forward to having them there. Hillary's school work conflicted a lot, but Madey was still a youngin' so, school hadn't swept her up too much yet.

    In basketball, Madey was our go-to girl. She had mad skills, yet wasn't a ball hog, and didn't seek glory(though she was clearly talented). I was so grateful for her during one particularly tense game when we were rotating girls in and out to give everyone a chance to play--one or two girls were insistent that they stay in...(convinced we would lose the game without them) my surprise--Madey, (the uber talented, reserved, "worker bee") politely, pulled herself out for her turn to allow the less sympathetic girls to play. (MY love for Madey grew 2 sizes that day.)

    Another time, we were practicing v-ball at the park, and one of the girls lodged the ball up high into a tree. Madey and Raquelle tried every method imaginable to knock the ball out, which resulted in getting additional balls stuck and unstuck for over an hour...I thought eventually they'd weary of the work, but when it finally got dark, and the coaches tummys were rumbling, they said "we'll come back later."...wha? The next morning they had the ball in hand, and I wasn't surprised...that kind of determinataion pays off!

    Her ability to put others before herself in something that she really enjoyed, and did well at...and her example of persistence have stuck with me.

    Madey's great character and strength are quiet, and simple, but they are significant because in those moments she was willing to do the things that many others wouldn't/ couldn't do...I'm both grateful, and inspired.

    Thanks for letting me share...I want you guys to know that I love your family--every last one of you! You are doing so many things right! My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you as you pass this next year of milestones.

    Your loyal friend, and marginal ball coach ;)