There was a time a few months ago when I had been away from home more than usual. Being away during those four days or so was a drastic change because my husband had been working overtime so I’d had A LOT of time with the kids. It is easy to take them for granted when you’re around them during 95% of your waking hours.
On the Sunday morning of that week, my daughter and I went to our church meetings early for her youth choir practice. After practice was over she and I sat waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. When the meeting started and they still hadn’t arrived, I began to get a little nervous. Then I saw them coming down the aisle, handsome husband and adorable children marching to their seats. As my two-year-old daughter turned into the aisle and saw me her face lit up (two-year-olds give great greetings, even if it was a loud “Mommy!” in church). She had been bathed by Daddy and was wearing her new Christmas outfit, shiny as a new penny. Behind her followed my son, his cowlick sticking up (but that’s just characteristic for a seven-year-old boy, super glue couldn’t even keep that thing contained). My 9-year-old daughter looked pretty and excited, it was neat that she could understand the importance of listening to an apostle speak at this very special meeting. She leaned forward in her chair to find Elder Nelson and then smiled when she recognized his face from General Conference.
Baby sat at my feet and went through my purse, pulling credit cards from their segregated slots and crumpling up receipts she felt I held onto too long. It kept her happy so I didn’t care. My son sits still in church well, as long as someone is scratching his back, but I can only do that for so long. So he and my two-year-old gave out about the same time, just before Elder Russell M. Nelson got up to speak. My husband took the baby out while my son squirmed the rest of the meeting. Not so perfect, but my older daughters made up for it. The feeling I got when I saw their rapt attention on an apostle of the Lord warmed me through and through.
Today I could see the young woman my oldest daughter is becoming. Around this time, she got a cute new haircut and we spent hours scouring shops to find a dress she liked that was modest and fit well. She looked beautiful, and felt it too. It is great to see her stand tall, despite her towering height. We talked about her Personal Progress goals and she mapped out a short-term plan. This daughter of mine, who dragged her feet through several years, now has a determination to succeed. It isn’t a pronounced anthem to the world, but an inner knowledge that she can, and will, do it. Praise the heavens, I am so thankful for it. My nine year old is still working to find out who she is, having a great older sister to follow will be a help to her I’m sure.
It is hard to imagine when you hold a newborn in your arms that one day that child will be independent and strong, able to make their own decisions wisely and make a great life for themselves. But now, now that my children are a little older, I can see that vision for them as unique individuals. It is wonderful to watch them grow and learn everyday. To see them become people, unfolding to the world like a new flower. I hope to do my very utmost to enable all those great things in their lives. We’re all learning and improving in this family, hopefully I’m far enough on the path myself that I can help my children.
How I love them, I never would have known without being where I am right now. How great they make my life, I can’t even describe. How rich our future, only heaven knows.
Thanks to God for my family and our opportunity to be together forever.