Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Few Great Things

I thought about posting a really snarky bit about 32 hours in the car with our kids, a last minute flight to Denver and sitting for a whole day in the SLC airport with a baby, too many politics, getting ready for a family wedding, the stress of three year-olds and the expense of Christmas. . . .

I would have titled the post "By Big Fat Christmas Mormon Wedding On The Road."

But I will refrain. I will refrain because the paragraph above gives you a taste of what the last few weeks has been like and the GOOD things about this vacation were just too good to treat lightly. So that is what I'll talk about instead.

Plantboy is the 6th of nine children and his youngest sister got married a few days after Christmas. When she was endowed, Plantboy's parents and all 8 siblings and all but one of their spouses was in the temple. The moment with us all dressed in white in the Celestial Room was just too great for words, and too sacred for much detail. I knew as I looked at Plantboy's mom that she was thinking that moment was probably the crowning spiritual achievement of her entire life, and a thing that will not be likely to ever happen again. It was a moment that gave the tiniest glimpse of eternity.

Plantboy's youngest sister is years younger than the rest of his siblings and there has always been a very heavy degree of resentment over this. As a teenager, she always overlooked the blessing of getting so much attention, not to mention money, from her parents and felt like an outsider to most of her brothers and sisters and more like a grandchild to her parents (she is just a month older than her oldest neice). I've come to know her quite well over the last few years and she and I have had some very frank talks, but in all that time, and with all her cooped up bitterness, I have never seen her emotional. In the Celestial Room that day, the tears just poured down her face. I think for the first time in her whole life she understood the nature of the love that exists in her family . . . . the love they really have tried to show over the years. In that moment, knowing that we had gathered from as far away as Guatemala to be there for her, she understood what it means to be a FAMILY. I hope she never forgets.

The wedding was lovely too, with all in-laws present and accounted for too, but there was just something about being all in white the day before with such an intimate group. The groom is a convert of just 13 months and had no family in the temple. And though the family wasn't sure to begin with if he was right for their sister, I hope he felt some of that love too and will understand the blessing of becoming an eternal part of such a group of people and that his own, new testimony, will continue to grow. I pray that they will learn to be unselfish and to sacrifice. I pray that the storms of life that beset every normal, young couple will not be too much for them.

I love temple weddings because you get such good temple instruction and doctrine that you don't hear anywhere else. It made me wish again that we lived just a little closer to a temple. Right now, when we go, I have to find somebody willing to babysit my three kids pretty much ALL day. Not something you can ask a person more than a couple of times a year. And many of the friends I've begun making here all seem like they are just one step away from a complete nervous breakdown. Not a situation where you want to throw three extra kids into the mix.

Before leaving for the wedding, we spent time with my friends from college. It is kind of an annual tradition that all of us debate doing, and then we get together and it is like NO time has passed. I had such a special group of college buddies--guys and girls--that really helped me hold it all together through some really difficult times. And though we are now scattered from Oregon to Dubai, some friendships are always meaningful. That was a stressful, busy day, and that night Plantboy and I had a fight that lasted about 20 minutes. I know that doesn't sound like much, but those of you who know my darling husband know how mild-mannered he is. I can count on one hand the number of times we shouted at one another. We both felt so bad that making up was quick and sincere.

After getting home from the wedding, I went shopping with my sister. Which. Was. Wonderful. Even better than going down the hill on an Snotube together while Scallywag laughed his guts out. I wish we could have spent two more hours just acting like mall-rats, sis. Oh, and the matching sweaters are a must for next year's Christmas party!

But duty called me away from shopping, and I'm glad it did. We went to visit Plantboy's aging grandmother in SLC. It was cold and I really didn't want to drag the kids back out and make the longish drive the day before we were heading home, but I am SO glad we went. She was thrilled to see us all. Plantboy took pics of her with the kids. When you live like nomads, you never know when you'll get a phone call that will tell you the last time you saw a person is the last time you'll ever see them in this life. My hubby is certainly no prophet, but it was plain to me that he felt an urgency about this visit that I haven't seen before. His goodbye was tearful, and the pictures were important to him. . . .

I don't know if that means anything, but even if it doesn't. I'm glad we went.

So, it was another vacation where all we do is run around a lot, attempting to help our children build relationships with extended family, and most of our activities were obligations more than choices. Still, we chose to move away and that is one of the consequences.

But we are really thinking of NOT traveling next winter and maybe taking the kids to Disneyland. Am I brave enough?


FoxyJ said...

While we were driving to and fro on our big vacation I kept thinking "I never want to do this again". We put over 2000 miles on our car and spent money we didn't really have. But we got to spend time with family. We also saw my husband's 88-year-old grandmother, and we haven't seen her for over two years. It was worth it.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Hm. . . not unlike our December events. Thanks for the last four words of your comment; I need to keep reminding myself that. said...

Traveling isn't so bad when they get older... actually life in general is just easier. I am trying to love every moment as I am anticpating dreadful teen years.

Too bad you don't live here - I would watch your kids any time while you went to the temple.

amyjane said...

I hear you on this one. Our Christmas break was a lot of running, a lot of doing things because we're supposed to as good kids and cousins and grandchildren, but it was worth it. We saw people we don't see enough of, and like you said, helped our son towards building those important relationships with people we have not idea how long we will have on this earth. And even though my pregnant self would have rather stayed home and slept in and watched movies all day, it was wonderful in the end.

Girly Momma said...

oh i love disneyland. definitely go. sounds like the trip was good, despite the fun it always is to travel with 3 small children. i love weddings and am glad the temple was so nice. it's fun to see snow. don't get much of that around here:)

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

Family and friend time is definitely worth the sacrifice. :)

As for the temple, perhaps you could trade off watching another family's children when they go to the temple. We often do that with a neighbor, since we're both student families and can't afford sitters often.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Tried that, but the other family hasn't reciprocated yet and I'm not sure if I can ask again until she lets me watch her brood.

N.F. said...

What a beautiful post.

Reading it makes me wonder if I can want something "TOO" much-as in getting married in the Temple one day.

I think my former Stake President once said that the blessing is in the desire.

I don't know....anyways, thanks for sharing.