The luckiest


It says Marathons for Maddie up the top there and I have barely talked about Maddie.

I’m guessing most of you here reading this (hi, welcome, thanks for coming) know Miss Maddie.  We’re a lucky group of people.

I got to meet Maddie on just three occasions, all of them here in Melbourne, Australia (allow me to point out here how downright impressive I think it is that at 5 ¾, Maddie had been to Australia three times… awesome).

She came out at some pretty challenging times for a lot of us and I’ll tell you about those visits another time.  Today I want to tell you about Christmas 2009.

The last time I had seen Maddie was January 2007.  She was just a toddler then.  When you asked her on the 2009 trip if she’d ever been to Melbourne she said no, so I knew she wouldn’t remember me, but I can’t tell you how excited I was to be seeing her again.

We arrived at Katherine and Mr J’s place.  Thrilled to see C4 at Christmas – such a treat.  Wonderful to meet Mary Kay again and to meet her “big girls” (as Maddie called them).  We all gathered in the sitting room and we handed out gifts.

It’s hard when you meet your best friend’s niece, not to frame your interactions with her based on your experience and hopes for the relationship.  For my part, I wanted to tell Maddie everything about Lauren.  Everything.  I had created in my head all the different lessons that Lauren would teach Maddie, all the things she’d tell her at different times.  I know Lozzie was passing on the shoes advice all on her own, but there was some other stuff too.

And Maddie only got to meet Loz that one time and she was too young to remember it.  So I guess, more than anything, I wanted to try and make sure that she could know her Aunt, her God Mother, and I felt a huge sense of responsibility for my part in that.

I guess all this is largely superfluous, but what I’m trying to get across is that I was actually kinda nervous about meeting Maddie again.  I had all these hopes and feelings of responsibility for our relationship.  And she was “just” a little girl being forced to meet all these adults, all of us who wanted to fawn over her.

And after some unwrapping of presents and catch up chats, Maddie came up to me.

Maddie came up to me.




And she put out her hand to me and she said “Do you want to come and see my room.”

Are you kidding me?

Only more than anything in the whole wide world.

So I took her hand, stood up and she led me down the hall to her room.

To say that I think of this moment (even before January 16 turned up this year) as one of the most special of my life, is still to understate it.

I have Maddie’s Aunty Lauren to thank for teaching me to see the significance and preciousness in small moments.  This one didn’t escape me.  Thank goodness.

Maddie had been given a princess costume… tiara, glass slippers, the works.  Magical.  I believe it was a fairy princess costume – I seem to remember wings and a wand.  She asked me if I would mind helping her to put it on.  No problems, Maddie – it would be my honour.

So we got her all frocked up and we walked back down that hallway (and yes, she let me hold her hand the whole way down it) and she showed off her outfit and ran around casting spells over everyone.

There were other bits that night that were special.  But this is the one I want to share with you today because it was so profound for me.  I had looked at photos and listened to stories and followed Maddie’s story from the time she was born.

And that day, she came up to me and grabbed my hand.

She didn’t even know who I was and she grabbed my hand and made me feel like the most special person in the world.

And I guess that’s why we all miss Maddie so much.  Because she did that, just exactly like her Aunty did.  Made you feel like the most lucky, most special person in the world.  And I guess we are, because we got to feel that.

In both cases, not for as long as we wanted.

But even if it was just once or twice or for a few years – we got to feel it.  So still, we are the luckiest.

10 Responses to “The luckiest”
  1. geez you’re making *me* cry…that’s something in itself! Can’t imagine how emotional it must writing all of this down! Miss Maddie certainly does seem like such a special little girl. Can’t wait to hear more about her x

  2. Em says:

    Yep – crying at the desk!

    Beautifully written Suzanne!

  3. Collie James says:

    Are you trying to kill me?

    Seriously – beautiful post. You captured Maddie perfectly. Thank you so much.

  4. Jan Hevey says:

    That feeling of a little girl’s hand in your own hand is a beautiful feeling that you never ever forget.

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  1. […] haven’t been down here for the last six months, you had achieved a whole lot.  As you once demonstrated to me with your magic wand, you are rather magical and can cast spells over everyone you come in contact with and, as it turns […]

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  • My Marathons for Maddie in 2011

    Run for the Kids: 17 April - 14.38km
    Mothers' Day Classic: 8 May - 4km
    Run Melbourne: 17 July – half marathon
    Sandy Point Half: 21 August - half marathon
    Sydney Running Festival: 18 September – half marathon
    Melbourne Marathon: 9 October – marathon

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