Monday, May 17, 2010

Keepin' It Real In Gila

On Saturday we packed the bus and rode to the Gila Valley Temple open house. It was the first time my homegurl had seen a temple in its entirety, and I couldn't wait to watch her reactions to the temple's breathtaking craftsmanship: the furniture, the 9 foot solid Maple doors, the stained glass, the gold leaf trimmed ceilings, the life-size paintings of the Savior's ministry, the Bride's Room. I wanted her to see the Bride's Room.

More than anything, though, I wanted to stand with her between the mirrors that hang in the Sealing Room. I wanted to whisper in her ear how our love and friendship will go on for eternity, just like our reflection in the mirrors. We were meant to be, she and I. I wanted to tell her to find a man as good as her dad. Someone who will hold her high when she is low. A man who will sustain her divinity and amplify her very best qualities.

But I said none of these things.

She's at an age where my sentimental talk makes her feel squirmy, awkward, even queasy. When I actually muster the courage to tell her what is in my heart, she curls her lip and says, "Stop, Mom.  You're acting weird." Since I didn't want my mothering chatter to ruin our moments in the temple, I settled for trailing behind her.  I carefully reached up and grabbed her ponytailed hair and began twirling it round and round my wrist, and I vowed to not let go until we finished our procession through the Bride's Room and Ceiling Room.

"Look at the crystal chandeliers, Mom," she said in a whisper as we enter the Celestial Room, turning her head just enough for me to read her lips.

"They're stunning." I said immediately, wanting to say something more, wanting her to pinky promise me that she'll go to the temple someday.

As though she could read the thoughts in my mind, she quickly whipped her ponytail out of my hand. With a toss of her head and two quick steps forward, she was standing with her friends underneath the Celestial Room's chandeliers; I watched as they gathered and whispered; their faces outshining the twinkling facets that caught the lights above our heads. My impulse was to join her group of friends and tell them all the things I wanted to tell Hannah.  Instead,  I relinquished my thoughts and saved them for a more appropriate moment, for a time when she's older and wiser.

As we exited the temple, I quickly asked if she'd take a picture with me. She is gracious enough to let me have a few minutes of her time. (Seriously, moms can be such a drag.) We ask Brother Walker to take our picture, and he says, while adjusting the camera lens, "It doesn't get better: A girl and her mom at the temple together." I sucked in my want to cry, because crying in front of your teenage daughter is totally awk sauce-- Just say no to your emotions. Instead, I pulled her in close and waited for the click. 

As we walked back to the bus, I began twirling her ponytail round and round my wrist again. "I love you, Hannah," I said. "You're as good as they come." She smiled, "I love you too, Mom."

She tiled forward, pulling her hair from my hand. "I'm going to go find Grace now, but I'm glad we came to the temple together." "Me too," I say, taking another picture of her sweet face with my heart.


  1. Warning!!! I need to remember to get a tissue before reading your blog. Beautiful post Katy!

  2. Sounds just like my 6th grader "baby" girl. No sentimental talk allowed! Especially in public.
    BTW.. I'm friends with Lori. She told me I was just like her friend Katy and gave me your blog to check out. :)

  3. This is beautifully said. I wonder if we have to be mothers to know how much our mothers love us.

  4. Kathryn, I'm a Katherine too, and I have never met a Katherine that I didn't just adore, and I noticed that you love Babs, aka, Barbara Streisand. I can't get enough of that woman. In fact, the soundtrack to "Yental" is one of my favorites. I love Lori with all my heart.

    Louise, From a creative writing perspective, where can I improve? What works in the story? What doesn't work? Authentic or contrived? These emotions are hard to translate into writing that doesn't try too hard.

    Robin, Can you believe how old are girls are getting? It's unbelievable. I want to put them in a grow-no-more container.

  5. Hay Suki! This is HAyden C.! Would you please send me those pictures you have at the Gila Valley Temple thx!

  6. Hayden, I'll send them asap.

  7. Katy, these last few posts are just beautiful. You really describe motherhood so well.

  8. I missed this post somehow but wanted to let you know how much I loved it. Your writing is beautiful. You have a gift with being able to put into words the beautiful feelings of being a mom. Have you seen the blog, Enjoying the Small Things?
    It reminds me of you.

  9. And you made that whole thing possible with MY girl too, and it makes me so happy she got to go. I wished I was with her, but I'm sure she was delighted to be on that bus microphone without me.

    You're the best and man alive can you ever write well.

  10. Nothing like being in the temple with your kids. So glad the two of you had such a wonderful experience. You're such a sweet mom!