It's easy to forget those experiences that make family life the joy that it is. We get so busy with our day to day activities that we get distracted from the larger picture. We (by which I mean "I") need to step back a pace or two from time to time and scan the spiritual horizon on which my family is perched; ready to go forward, but simply waiting for Daddy to catch up so he can go with them.
There are significant things happening in our family right now. Jelly turned 12 this month, for one thing. While 12 can be a milestone in itself, the spiritual significance of this age cannot be overstated. This is a veritable rite of passage for our young lady (yes, a young lady now; not a primary kid anymore!) as she enters the Young Women program as a Beehive. My little blond-haired, blue-eyed child of promise, a Beehive. Wow. She got to ride in the front seat with Daddy tonight as she accompanied me to Chorale rehearsal. Rites of passage.
The baby, meanwhile, is no baby anymore. She, too, is advancing right along with her older sibling. While Jelly moves into the rank of Beehive froshes, Doodle takes her sister's place in the upper echelons of the Primary organization. Jelly may have done her last Primary program in Sacrament Meeting, but Doodle only has three left herself.
On the other end of the scale are my grown-up kids. My son has turned 22. Yikes. On the plus side, he appears to be calming down somewhat. He's beginning to lose a bit of that post-adolescent edge that makes some kids his age absolutely hideous to be around. The brief time I spent with him when we traveled up that way last month, though, helped me see that he really can (and likely will) do just fine. The long view definitely helps while watching my son.
My oldest daughter, meanwhile, is facing her own life challenges head on. She finds herself at one of those unenviable crossroads of life; placed there by a man she should have been able to trust, but ultimately could not. The rapidity with which she is rebuilding her life, however, astonishes and pleases me tremendously. Not only did she get her own daughter baptized last month, but she is now taking Temple Prep classes herself.
Ol' Woody cranked his Jubilee Year up a notch by celebrating 25 years of working for more or less the same company. That is to say, I have worked for 25 uninterrupted years for whatever company put their logo on the building I was working in at any given time. So, even though the company name is different from the one that hired me 25 years ago, all my benefits and pension have grandfathered in. Another 15 and I am history.
(I got the watch, by the way. Cliché it may be, but it looks nice.)
But it is my Sweetheart that reminds me just how precious my family experience truly is. She is the one constant in my life. My kids keep growing, with or without me, and watching them is the only thing that ever makes me feel "old." Not my gorgeous wife, though. If ever anyone makes me feel young at heart, Mrs. Woody can and does.
Yet she grows, too. This evening we shared a wonderful epiphany of sorts. She had received an answer on a question that was troubling her somewhat. A couple of answers, really; both coming from Conference talks of several years ago. This was not by any means a testimony-challenging question, but was of the type that had not been sufficiently resolved in her own heart so as to warrant the need of guidance and comfort from the Spirit. And it came. Talking about this question together served to further strengthen our relationship, and reminded me just how truly blessed I am. For my wife, for my kids, and for my life in general.
It's good to take the larger view of things. Very good, indeed.