Kind Kids

I love kind kids, like A LOT. I love seeing kids just go be good, to do good things. It reminds me of my lovely, Madeline was a kind kiddo. Her teachers, in preschool and kindergarten, described her as kind, compassionate and a connector. I imagine Madeline as a builder, a connector- a simply content human. I remember her loving Christmas lights and lemonade stands.

I love sharing Madeline, Maddie’s Mark and all I have learned about service. I especially love sharing it with kiddos, sharing life lessons in a way that kids can understand and I hope helps to build service into their future selves.

This Christmas has been hard, hard to find the light. I am trying, and working hard to make it magical and full of our traditions. Sometimes it is easy… but mostly it is hard, so hard. We got our tree, and we found a new place to cut, in true Musto Tree form these past few years- it keeps tipping to the side, fell over once already. We have put a lot of work into gift making and thoughtful ideas. We love to drive around and eat French fries and see lights (several times). We have watched enough Christmas movies for Lucy to sum up the Hallmark Channel. Sam ‘The Weatherman’ Musto, our elf has done a few naughty things, including drinking wine and making a mess… that DARN ELF. It is Christmas… it is magical, right?

Have I told you that I love kind kids?

So… this summer a few kiddos did lemonade stands to support Maddie’s Mark Foundation. I would try to get over there and not only sample the goods, if I could, I would bring a thank you and some MM gear. I love kids helping others, I mean I love adults doing service, but there is something great about kids choosing to use their time to help others. The MacTurk girls didn’t JUST have a lemonade stand, they got this idea to do a hot cocoa stand for all the people who check out the Christmas Lights across the street. They began on Thanksgiving night and have spent several weeknights and every weekend out in the cold, and it was VERY cold many of those nights, selling hot cocoa and sharing Maddie’s Mark. I love it, it is not only a generous gift of time and resources- it is the best to go watch the light show and see these girls there serving- BEST NIGHT’S EVER.

The MacTurk girls have been intertwined with Madeline’s story since Madeline finished her journey here and left us for heaven. Grace was in in Kindergarten at Bradt when Madeline was a kindergartener. Amelia and Grace were on an OM Team together, way back when- while Amelia and Grace worked on creative problem solving… Brenna (Middle MacTurk) and Lucy played and got into mischief… all the while Mrs. MacTurk would hold the youngest of the girls, Harper. As time has gone on school and OM and live have kept our clans intertwined. I really love how they have helped share the mission and the miracle of Madeline and Maddie’s Mark Foundation.

I am super grateful for these Kind Kids, and feel that their service and dedication are amazing models for other kids. I see their endeavor as a big commitment, and I hope The MacTurk’s know what role models they are building…

I am grateful for News10 for honoring these Kind Kids and so many others…

Go out into the world and be a kind one, help the other kind ones… buy some cocoa and enjoy a BEST NIGHT EVER…

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Our ‘goodbye’ to a giant, is his ‘hello’ to his girls

Saturday morning, I woke up with all the plans of the day going on in my head. Maddie’s Mark had a BIG Best Day Ever and I had to organize the worker bees and figure logistics for cake pick up and beyond. It was one of those crazy days…

I woke up to news that George Bush had died, at 94 he went home to Jesus. His granddaughter shared a powerful, emotional and raw post about her Gampy, along with an image my mind will never forget. I have read and reread her words, and will most likely read 100 times more before I put them away for a time. The connection to George is that for me… beyond him being a pretty great human being, beyond him deserving my respect as 41st President… we both belong to the same ‘club’. We both lost our little girls to cancer.

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I remember learning that there was a Robin Bush, and reading her story. I felt a connection to the Giant that Jenna wrote about. It soothed my heart to know that He and Barbara still remembered her, still talk about her, still honor her. I always worry that someday we will forget, someday we won’t talk about her… fear that she will disappear. I love knowing that they brought Robin along, telling stories and using her words- “I love you more than tongue can tell”. I imagine that reunion moment was a gift God could not wait to witness.

I have an image in my head of what this will look like… what that entry to heaven will look like for me. I imagine Madeline as my 5-year-old waiting for me, impatiently. I don’t imagine clouds, but instead a sunset just the way we loved at the lake. I see her running to me, as I go to her. She will know me, she will be waiting for me… she will be right there with the longest super hug. I can’t see or hope further than that… every moment after doesn’t matter.

Somedays I want to just fast forward to that time, to that moment with her. I know it will be spectacular, my own little miracle in this mess. I think about fast forwarding, but then I am reminded of the rest of my life and purpose and people. Imagine if George and Barbara didn’t use their years here, in this mess, to make it neater, safer and different? I don’t have Political goals, I don’t plan to be President of anything except Maddie’s Mark, there lies my purpose, my job. I get to spend my time here parenting, and looking forward to meeting my grandkids, I really think they are the gift after raising kids through all these tough years. My job is to share Madeline’s words- Best Day Ever, and know that every time I say those words, I am brought back to the moment she altered the future with those words. I can see her hands next to her face with the most perfect smile, after she poked my arm, she said “Best Day Ever” in the most excited and raspy little girls voice. In that moment she brought my crazy brain back to simple and present… almost prepared for the time to come.

I imagine Robin’s short life sat in the back of The President’s brain and her story was a part of the decisions he made. I know Madeline’s short life is a part of my life decisions… she is helping me build the best kind of life.

Madeline’s life sent my life in a direction that I didn’t plan on, just as Madeline’s death has redirected my whole future. I now work with Childhood Cancer Advocacy, Childhood Palliative Care, Organ Donation, Non-Profits… I work in a Special Ed classroom that supports building social and emotional skills. I teach Faith Formation, I write, I speak… alongside raising Madeline’s sisters. All of these things are different than I planned, but they are a part of the different purpose that God is directing. I am sure George and Barbara’s whole life was forever altered by the experience of having a sick daughter and then her passing.

I keep rereading these words from The President’s letters, I love that he wrote so much. I think it is a special gift to the future to leave your words, especially handwritten. The feeling is so familiar to me…

“We need some starched crisp frocks to go with all our torn-kneed blue jeans and helmets. We need some soft blond hair to offset those crew cuts. We need a doll house to stand firm against our forts and rackets and thousand baseball cards… We need a little one who can kiss without leaving egg or jam or gum. We need a girl,” he wrote.

 

“We had one once. She’d fight and cry and play and make her way just like the rest but there was about her a certain softness. She was patient. Her hugs were just a little less wiggly,” he wrote

-George H W Bush

 

Thank you, President George HW Bush. I will always see that image of you and yours meeting in heaven. Your words and actions, honoring and telling others about your lovely- knowing that you still thought of her daily… she never disappeared, are a great comfort to me. Enjoy that soft blond hair… enjoy hearing “I love you more than tongue can tell”…

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