We had a terrific family reunion this weekend. My sweet husband, children and grandchildren bring me real incredible joy.Some of my favorite moments were:
*watching the grandchildren give each other clown hair with a shower caps, shaving cream and Cheetos.
*clapping while Karen did the happy dance after a great turn at the bowling alley with all the girls.
*Breathing a sigh of relief when all the boys walked back through the door alive after going to the shooting range together.
*having my youngest child Alisa and and oldest grandchild Josh perform their first baptisms at the temple.
*seeing my children dressed in white at the temple.
*listening to family members express their love for each other as we sat in a circle on the deck at the cabin.
We missed Martha because she was helping her father after open heart surgery and Caleb because he was the first person in our family to go to heaven.
The love of God and family
From my daughter Arianne's perspective:
Every member of my immediate family gathered yesterday evening. My parents paused, in awe, to regard how quickly ten children have multiplied in only a few years. Imagine ten, fifty, a hundred years from now! It's not something you grasp when you're a new parent--the immensity of your influence.
I thought about the days when Mom and Dad were in my shoes, wrestling little ones. Feeling so tired but pressing onward anyway. All that is good and beautiful in my heart started there with them. If I could go back in time to my pigtails and petticoats, this is what I would tell them.
There's a ripple created, Mama and Daddy, each time you choose to hold and hug me. Each time you reach out for me in tenderness when I am screaming back at you. Each time you scoop up my tired legs and carry me in your arms. Each time you set aside your own interests to read and sing to me. Each act is a ripple spreading outward.
Some day my hands will wrap around your grandchildren. I will reach for them in gentleness the way you showed me. They will grow strong swimming in a pool of safety and love. There will be dozens of children who are carried by a loving, gentle current you created, one ripple at a time.
It is then you will know heaven. For heaven is simply this--little acts of love moving ever, forever outward.
That's what I'd say to them if I could go back. And this is what I'd show them--these photos I took last night of their love, multiplied. All my brothers and sisters and their spouses gathered their little ones up to listen to Grandma and Grandpa. It was a sea of squirming, wiggling, hugging love. And it was breathtaking.