Saturday, November 26, 2011

Best. Weekend. Ever. (Until the Next Time, I Hope!)

I love Thanksgiving.  Have I mentioned that?  I love everything about it.  I love the colors.  I love the food.  I love the smells.  I love making pies and apple salad with my kids sneaking Snickers into their mouths while Christmas music is playing.  (See, Amy?  My heart grew!)  I love listening to the kids laugh at the table.  I love my brothers teasing each other, and seeing everyone traipse outside to play Horse or Tornado, and I love watching everyone traispe back in, cheeks red and spirits high.  I love feeling full and sleepy and just overall satisfied.  I love Thanksgiving.

As if that was not enough to make this weekend glorious, today Briana was endowed in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple.  I have been so excited for this.  And I don't know why, but I was not prepared for the emotion that would come spilling out of me.  Yesterday we went to the Distribution Center, where we purchased almost everything she needed for the temple.  She chose a beautiful dress, and when she put it on, suddenly my little girl was a grown woman standing before me.  It took my breath away. 

This morning we walked in the temple door, and I told the brethren at the recommend desk that we were here for an endowment for the living.  Immediately there was a lovely sister at our side, saying, "You must be Sister Hill and Sister Hill!"  They checked our recommends, and Sister Jeanette Call took us to a verification desk for a few minutes.  She then took us back to the dressing room.  They gave Briana one of the brides' lockers, and it had a lovely calligraphic name sign on it with her full name.  Sister Call was so kind to explain everything that was going to happen (for both Briana and me). 

When Breezy was in initiatory, I got dressed, and then Sister Call took me to the new name booth.  By the time Briana came back, I was ready to be with her.  I helped her put on her white dress, and then sweet Sister Call took us to a small room.  We were met by Sister Layton, the temple matron.  Since Bri was the only sister being endowed on this session, it was just the 4 of us in this discussion (Sister Call at the back of the room, me next to Briana, and Sister Layton sitting knee-to-knee with Briana).  Sister Layton explained the temple beautifully and simply and spectacularly.  We are so blessed to have what we have and to know what we know!

When Sister Call took me and Briana to the chapel, we were thrilled to see so many people there to support Breeze:  Uncle Derek and Aunt Becky, Aunt Laurie, Grandma Glenda, Grandma Ruth, Aunt Jenny, Mike and (Bestest Friend) Brittany, Wendi (Brit's mother, "Mama Silva"), Sami, and Stacy.  Additionally, Uncle Gavin and Aunt Kimberly had told us they would be in the Sacramento Temple at the same time.  Even if they did not make it, it meant a lot to us that they would think to do that.

Briana was very calm all through the endowment session.  She participated in the prayer circle with her dad. They saved her for very last to come through the veil, and she started getting pretty nervous during that wait.  I was second-to-last, and it was sweet to watch so many friends make their way to the front of the room.  Breezy said, "I know there's nothing to worry about, but I'm kinda freaking out."  She shed some tears (no one cries alone) and we snuggled. 

Then it was my turn to leave, and I knew I was leaving Briana in good care with Sister Call. I entered the celestial room to find all of those people just standing there waiting for us.  I greeted a few people, and then I just found my sweetheart, who held me while I cried for joy.  Several minutes later, our daughter entered the celestial room, and I wish I could express the feelings of joy as she did.  There was anticipation as we waited, listening intently for the knock that would signal that she was almost there; and I thought, "We will probably be waiting with this kind of anticipation when we are all dead, waiting for our daughter to leave mortality and join us again."  Gives a very different perspective on death, doesn't it?

Spencer held Briana close to him for a very long time, and I thought my heart would burst with joy.  Next it was my turn, and I couldn't help but say, "How will I let you go away for 18 months?"  I hope that isn't discouraging for our beautiful daughter, who will be a wonderful missionary.  I could not choose anything different or better for her at this time in her life.  I'm so pleased with the choices she has made and is making.  But my goodness!  How will I survive it?  It's not just pain at having our daughter LEAVING (although I admit it, there is some of that)--but it's also the joy that fills me so full I think I might actually explode.  How will I survive it?

Briana had some time to hug each of the people who came to the temple with her, and we sat for a few minutes in the Celestial Room.  Sister Call waited patiently till we were ready to leave, then she took us back to the dressing room.  We got to go into the brides' room to fold our temple clothing.  Sister Call took Bri to a very large full-length mirror, put her arm around her and said, "Do you have any idea how happy your Father in Heaven is with you today?"  And I thought, "I bet I have an idea!"

After we left the temple (which we hardly wanted to do), Spencer and Briana and I went to lunch at The Olive Garden.  Guess what our server's name was?  Jeanette!  Isn't that awesome?  She was very kind to us, and we enjoyed ourselves completely.

And now for a memory:  In 1990 I was pregnant with Briana, and my friend was getting married in the Los Angeles temple.  It had been several months since we'd been to the temple because the Oakland Temple was closed for remodeling.  As I sat in the endowment session, I had the sweet feeling that our family was all there with us.  I could not count them, but I knew they were there.  Even though I was terribly disappointed that I could not have more children, I had that same feeling when my sweet brother and his wife brought our 3 little ones to the hospital to meet their baby brother, Landon--the whole family was there!

Oh, how I pray that someday (and maybe many somedays) in mortality, our whole family will be with us in the temple.  I know that we can be a family eternally.  But my goodness!  How will I survive that much joy?


The Vuki Family said...

What a wonderful time! I wish I could've been there. Sister! You're old. Love you all!

Coles Fam said...

What a wonderful description! I am so excited for you and this new chapter in your family's lives. What a wonderful example you are to me.

Jessica and Tim said...

I love moments like this. Super cool.