Friday, January 11, 2013

dear madey...

hi little sister...
i've been thinking about you a lot lately; today even more than usual for obvious reasons... i figured i should probably write out my thoughts so that i don't forget how i feel today... 

i can't really believe that its already been two years today since you left us here on earth and went back to our home in heaven. 
it seems like just yesterday i was sitting on the bleachers with dad watching you play basketball or 
playing pickle in the front yard with landon giggling as he ran back and forth between the "bases" we set up. you always had a strong arm and it usually hurt my hand when i had to catch the balls you threw. our only curse was our "slaughter feet". we were definitely the slower moving kids. landon still is... you'd be proud of him and his new-found bravery to try out football. he did pretty good this last fall; he's still learning but he's caught on pretty quickly, just needs to work on his footwork. [sounds familiar, right?]

i've started my last semester of college. i'm student teaching in a sixth grade class in a middle school up here. i see these kids everyday and all i can see is you and your friends... i see you all goofing off and making silly vidoes, talking about boys and all kinds of things that we think about when we're younger....

there's one cute little gal in the special needs classes at my school that has your profile... i met her yesterday at lunch and when she turned her head to look at someone else it hit me like a ton of bricks. that cute little nose of yours was on her face and i was caught completely and entirely off guard. her name is rachel and she could probably use your help... 

there's another young lady in my 5th and 6th periods that i haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet because she's going through chemo treatments and has been sick. what are the odds that i would have her in my classes? she could most definitely use your help, too... i'm trying to get brave enough to ask more about her and to hopefully write her a letter. every time i notice that she's not here, i think of how it all happened for us those years ago... i remember waiting and hoping and praying that everything would be okay... that you wouldn't hurt anymore and that things would just go back to normal. i still wish for that last part... the normal part...

i still think sometimes that this is all just a really bad dream and that i'll wake up and you'll be here, ready with a new prank or a new song you wrote on your guitar to sing for us, even if that song is just making fun of me.   [you'd really make fun of me right now as i'm crying and i have a stream of snot running down my face. cute, i know.] 

i'm certain you would have built a snow fort today because of all the snow mom and dad got. you always did love the snow, and you stayed out there as long as mom would let you, even if you couldn't feel your fingers and toes anymore. 

i often wonder what you'd be doing now if you were still here on earth... you'd be a senior in high school... probably a captain on the basketball and softball teams. i'm sure you'd have been on quite a few dates by now and a lot more popular than hillary or i ever were. people gravitated towards you because of how positive and kind you were to everyone. i now understand why... they somehow knew there was something special about you. i wish that i had known back then, too. don't tell but you were always my favorite. hillary was too good for me. she still is, but at least we've figured out how to work around that. landon is a lot younger than i am and he's a boy which automatically qualifies him as smelly. i do love them both; don't get me wrong. but you and i always got along the best for some reason. i can still remember that day that we rolled up our pajama pants under our aprons so it looked like we didn't have any pants on while we baked cupcakes in the kitchen. classy.

and the christmas we got our guitars and the very first thing we figured out how to play was a handful of chords from "breath of heaven" simply because it was christmas time and we got lucky while playing around. after that, taylor swift became our go-to. we'd sit in your room and play for hours... and you always got mad when hillary tried to sing along with us because she was just a teeny bit off in her pitch and rhythm. [that hasn't changed, by the way.]  you always mispronounced the word "capo." but you were a natural and i was jealous of you. somehow you could just hear the music, play around for a minute or two, and then you could do it too. 

I remember after your hair fell out, rubbing your peach fuzzy head. you hated that, even if i still think it felt so good to touch. your scalp was so soft and your teeny tiny hairs were nice and soft and fuzzy. i used to rub your head in 
your sleep so you couldn't get mad at me... 

i still try and keep my toenails painted because that's just what we did every week. after your polish started to rub off and fade, we'd paint them again. and again. and again. i think that is something i will always do and now painted toenails mean so much more to me than it did when we were kids. it reminds me of you and the time that we spent together. i painted your toenails during those last few days you had with us. blue, because it was your favorite color. mom had the men at the funeral home leave it on your toes because that's just part of who you are. blue toenails.  when she told me that, i cried and it made me feel like you were taking a little piece of me with you to heaven. a piece of me that i needed you to have forever. 

i remember the week i got my wisdom teeth out [mostly] and how we both spent the majority of the time snuggled up on mom and dad's bed while we slept and watched movies. you made fun of my drooling and the pureed peaches that i had to eat. 

i remember the night you became "momma bird" and i became your "baby bird." i was climbing into bed and you had come downstairs to say goodnight and you were in a funny, funny mood. you fused about and spoke in the funniest little voice and told me "ok! goodnight baby bird! i tuck you in! go to seep! oh sweet baby bird!" over and over as you tucked my blankets around me and we laughed so hard our insides ached. 

i also remember not long after you had been diagnosed, you were laying in the recliner trying to sleep but you were not too thrilled with it because it wouldn't stayed leaned back all the way, so i sat on the little purple stool behind you and held it down so you could rest. i caressed your hair and watched you sleep. as i did, i got overwhelmed and started to cry because of how helpless i felt. i'm your older sister and i'm supposed to protect you from anything bad that could ever happen to you and i couldn't do it then. i was angry and sad and confused and hurt. as i started to cry, with your eyes shut you asked quietly, "are you crying?" and i sheepishly said "yes." you curtly replied, "well, stop it." i couldn't help but giggle a little and i tried to stop crying. i don't remember how well i did, but i know i tried. you always hated it when we cried... and i don't really blame you. you never liked it when anyone was sad or upset and because of that you always tried to make them feel better. somehow, with little practice, you were good at making people feel better about themselves and their situation, even if you didn't fully understand why they were having a bad day..

miss madeline, i miss you a lot. the reminders come when i least expect them, and i'm grateful for them. i grateful that i will always have those reminders so that i can always remember you. always. 
i love you more than a puppy dog loves his tail... 

your big sister, 

you were always happiest when you were outside with your whittling stick.

stadium of fire with carrie underwood

happy birthday!

that cute swim cap...

yay! a fish!
swimming with the family in logan

tony grove

this little peanut head still loves and misses you. she talks about you every once in a while and it amazes me every time that she still remembers...

you didn't want your picture taken. it wasn't the best day, so we spent it watching tv and coloring
a girl and her dog
howie mandelle. and my hitler 'stache.

toasting marshmellows and starburst

playing with snow in the house because it was too cold for you to go outside
one of your favorite places in the whole world

the one, and only, time we got you to wear a turban. it was definitely epic.

i love you, madeline!