I rush out of the house with my coat, bare feet, and my keys. I leave the two youngest boys watching "Super Why;" I would be gone for about 30 seconds. I run to the carport, hop in the van, quickly start it, put it into gear, cringe at the sound of the cold engine, and back out of the drive-way. Rushing around the corner and up the street, I scan the children walking to school --where is she? Finding her, I pull the van over, roll down my window...
"Mom? What are you doing?" #2 asks me.
I say nothing, but hold out her glasses.
"OH! My glasses! Thank you, Mom!"
I tell her I love her and quickly do a U-turn; I need to get back quickly. #5 is young. #4 is okay for a few minutes, but it only takes seconds for #5 to hurt himself.
I rush, rush, rush back into the house; both boys are sitting in the same position as when I left. I sigh in relief.
Grateful for the reprieve, I drive carefully; no radio. The thermostat in the van reads 48 degrees outside. Warm! I wonder if it will snow before Christmas.
I feel the Temple before I see it, dozens of people coming and going. Because of the timing of day, I find a parking space easily. I slip out of the car, leaving my cell phone behind. I walk up the sidewalk and notice, with grateful alarm, the large life-size statues of the Nativity. I make a mental note to stop on the way out to see it better.
Entering the doors, I walk to the front desk. Handing over my temple recommend, a man behind me mistakes me for someone else. I smile as he hastily apologizes. The recommend desk worker smiles and welcomes me by my married name. I thank him and walk into the sitting area just beyond the desk. I sit down. I wait.
It only takes about a minute; my good friend arrives with smiles and hugs. We walk back to the women's locker room. We sign up to do Initiatory work. Washings and Anointings. The step before the endowment. Having received my own twelve years ago, I am here to do it for other people. For more women --my sisters --who have passed from this life.
We sit, we wait, we talk quietly. There are a lot of women here today; the thought makes my heart sing. I wonder who these women are, waiting with us. Do they have young children at home? Did they also have to find a sitter? Do they come often, or not often enough --like me? I also wonder about the women we are doing ordinances for --were they mothers? Aunts? Did they die old? Young? The Temple workers call my name.
The feeling I receive when I do Temple work is hard to describe. Peace is the closest word. Joy is next. I feel selfish when I go --I may do it for other women, but really, I do it for me. I do it so I can remember. Remember my covenants. Remember my blessings. Remember my joy.
My friend and I leave the Temple happier than when we came. We sit on a bench across from the life-size Nativity. We talk of missions as we watch missionaries from the nearby MTC coming and going. I comment on their youth. She reminisces her own mission. Time passes too quickly and it is time to leave.
We part and go back to our lives. We are both mothers; we are both tired. Driving back, I leave the radio off again. I hit every green light but arrive at my neighbor's house fifteen minutes after I told him I'd be back. His graciousness is evident; he doesn't mind. His own son had fun; my sons did, too. Hugs, shoes, coats, and we walk across the street home.
I stay in my dress all day. I don't want to forget.
I give strict instructions to my oldest child. #5 is in the crib, nearly asleep. She may stay in the boys' room to tell a story to #3 and #4. Lock the door when I leave. Do not answer the phone unless it's me. I'll be back soon.
I put on my hat, coat, scarf, shoes; grab the keys, the purse. I head out the door, and listen as #1 locks it. I start the van, letting it warm up. It's only 8:45PM and I hope the play hasn't ended, yet. I drive carefully, listening to classical music.
Arriving at the theater, I find a spot out front; I lock the van and walk through the front doors. I'm not sure if the play is over, yet, but as I turn the corner, I see #2 walking ahead of me, having just come out of the front office. I call her name. I call her name again. She turns and I see she has been crying.
She runs to me, burying her head in my coat. I sit us down on a nearby bench and ask,
"Honey, what is it?"
"Where were you!?"
"I told you I would be here at 9PM. Did the play get out early?"
"It's been out forever! I couldn't find you! I didn't know where you were! I tried to call you from the office, but it is locked..."
I hug her and let her cry. I apologize over and over and over. We sit for a moment, tears subside, tears dry, and we walk out to the doors. By the time we reach the cold air, she is smiling; laughing.
We arrive home. #5 is sleeping, #3 and #4 are close. The girls hop into bed. I turn on Christmas music, make some herbal tea, and settle down with my book. Reading, TV watching, computer working... I am in bed before midnight and fall asleep within seconds, questioning my sanity for always staying up so late when Brandon is away...