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Share a Story About Payten Vaughn
Please take a moment to share a story of how Payten touched your life, and the times you shared. It may be a specific time, or experience you shared. It may be
as simple as sharing what Payten meant to you. Payten's family will be
able to save these memories and take great comfort from your words. [ Click Here to Share a Story ].
Unconditional Love and Acceptance
Posted: May 17, 2012 | Last Revised: May 18, 2012
To say that anybody or anything can truly console a family's grief of a lost loved one is probably the farthest from the truth. However, I hope by sharing this I can appease their pain, if only for a brief moment. In my mind I will always picture Payten as the little boy with the pure, almost translucent blonde hair, rosy red cheeks, 3 teeth missing and a genuine smile that embodied the very spirit of mischevious boyhood.
A brief backstory for those of you that may not know, that may give you insight to better understanding the story . The Vaughns dedicated their lives to helping others by serving in Stephenville's Foster Home. They cared for a wide range of ages of anywhere from 4-8 girls, plus their own 3 on an everyday basis. So, omitting the everyday ups and downs, the complexity of emotions a large mixed household doles out, Payten was the first one of the Vaughn family who, for me, made me feel a real sense of belonging and acceptance. He gave no bias or doubt, and with generosity that surpassed his years by many, shared his parents. I cannot recall one jealous comment or outburst expected of a boy his age in this situation. If only for a month, a year, or whatever time allotted, the simple fact stood I was part of his family now; no different, no better, no worse; the same. Conveying this thought into a girl's mind that is mangled with wacky hormones brought by puberty, and a general "self pity" attitude that coincides with teenage years, is a feat I think very few in this world accomplish. I will share how, although very unconventionally, he did that for me.
It was later in the day, and for some reason maybe sick, or had to get an immunization, I can't recall but I was home for the last hour or so of school. Genie was in the kitchen or in their quarters, and the door swings open and I hear the distinct thud of Payten running as fast as he could followed by the comparably lighter pitter patter footsteps of Lory then Holly trying with their all to keep up with their brother. Of course then you hear Terry, followed by Genie reprimanding them to not "run through the house like a stampede." I was sitting on the couch upset about something unimportant, and had been crying; quite obviously upset. Terry and the girls joined Genie and the usual tasks of bringing kids home were occurring; getting them some water, taking off shoes, etc. Payten plopped down next to me and said with confidence and assurity, without asking or knowing what "it" was; "don't worry, its just because you're a girl that it bothers you". He gave me a quick, matter of fact, pat on the back, leaned over (saying this as politely as possible) gave me a gift of sound and smell by passing gas on me. He ran off laughing profusely eager to share his accomplishments.
It brings a smile to my face to this day. In a place where absurd rules and regulations were imposed on the adult caretakers of children to be "politically correct" and "within legal rights" there was little time for foolish comradary that a family needs. To those of you that may not understand imagine in your daughter's time of need if you hug her just a little too long or a little too tight possibly losing your family's livelyhoood. An awkwardness of intertwining necessary law with a loving family. Whatever problem it was plaguing me that day immediately dissolved. I was so happy to be accepted. It was the comfort of a normal brother/sister figure relationship. He accepted me and felt comfortable enough with me to treat me like family, because obviously he didn't go around doing that to just anyone and everyone. He was well mannered responding to most adults with "yes sir" and " no sir" at the time.
Today, I'm happily married and have a stepdaughter, and 2 sons. And that sense of equality and unbiased love and acceptance of whoever is in my family, is honestly and truly the base of my decision-making process. I use it in raising my children and in dealing with tons of situations that arise.
To the family; This seemingly small but joyous memory of mine hopefully brings a little light to this grim time in your lives. Payten died young, but touched more people than some do in a lifetime. I know I am only one person, however, I'm sure there are many others scattered about this world that feel the same. So, if possible, take pride in the fact that his memory lives on in so many other lives out there.
So, I thank you Payten for that acceptance and care all rolled up into a loving brother-like toot.