It all started with Halea's graduation day. I say day, but really it has been over a week of activities. I am exhausted and I only had to attend one of them. Every night those kids had something to go to. They were fun, but it was just a lot. I am so happy for her though. She has done so well, made good friends, stayed true to herself, had confidence in her beliefs, grown a beautiful testimony of the Savior and had a lot of fun. We just couldn't be prouder of her and her accomplishments. I must say, however, I am glad to see this week come to an end.
Friday was Halea's actual graduation. Friday morning I got up early to run some errands in Salt Lake. When I got home, we made lunch and then we all got ready to go to the graduation. Halea was speaking, but didn't seem nervous at all. She is a cool cucumber. We loaded up the grandparents and all of us and headed down. Our niece and her husband followed us down. We had to be at the graduation an hour early, so I knew that it was maybe going to be a struggle for Hilary. I loaded my purse with treats and candy and just hoped that she wouldn't throw up on the way home.
Then they began with the reading of the 600 names!!!!! Seriously, it was forever. it was fun to watch them all, but it was really long. At the end they played a cute video of the senior class activities from the year. My niece and nephew left a little early and took some of the kids so they could get a jump on the traffic. The kids jumped at the chance to leave:)
We had a dinner at home and just hung out until Halea left for her grad night party at 11.
I signed up to be a chaperon and clean up crew for the grad night, so I decided to go to bed for a few hours before I needed to report for duty. I got up a little before 3am and headed in. They had a lot of fun things set up for the kids to do and lots of yummy food. Halea and her friends seemed like they had a great time. I think Halea even got a little emotional thinking about leaving Lehi High School for the last time. I am so grateful that she has fond memories of High school. One of the other speakers at the graduation spoke about having no regrets when you look back on your life. Do now what you wish you would have done, no regrets. It was a good talk. I appreciated her advice. It is a great way to make decisions in life.
I got home around 5am and decided to sleep for an hour or so before I went running because then it was off to the races with our jam packed day. When I got home from my run, there was a beautiful potted flower with pinwheels stuck in it on my porch! At like 7:30am. How did she sneak that so early? The day was off to a good start.
Months ago when I was thinking about this day and how I would like to spend it, it involved staying in bed, doing nothing if I wanted to. Maybe reading a book, cuddling with Hilary, crying a lot and probably a little feeling sorry for myself. Then one day I was walking out of the temple and I realized that we for sure needed to squeeze in a temple visit on this day. Our home felt like the temple, so it only seemed appropriate. Then we realized that one of our very good friends had her oldest daughter getting married on this day. Ugh. I was a little resistant to that idea at first. This particular friend has also had two of her children die, so I felt like it would be important for us to attend the beautiful event of two young people uniting in marriage.
Then one of my friends called about four weeks ago to see when we were going to try and go to the temple, because she really wanted to come, but they had to change her son's baptism to this very day. Seriously, it was becoming comical how many things were suddenly in our days agenda.
She has been such a good friend and we really had no preference for when we went to the temple, so we worked out a time that worked for all of us and began the day.
Lance and I headed off to the Salt Lake Temple to start the day. I was getting a little nervous to see if I was going to be able to hold my emotions together. I did really good until the very end of the ceremony. I let my mind go to the place where I think about the fact that I will never see Tatum or Trevin married in this life. It feels weird to think of the dynamics that that changes in your family make up and future. The spirit was sweet in the room and I just got a little emotional right as we were leaving the ceremony. I just kept having waves of emotion as we were walking down the hall. Now my main concern as I was attending these few very special events was to not be the "dark cloud" in attendance. I did not want to detract from the joy that these families should be feeling with a wedding and a baptism. So I was trying really hard to hold it together.
A side note: A few days ago Lance got a call to meet with our Stake President. Lance is currently serving as a High Councilman, so he was just having an interview to see how things were going. I adore our stake president. He is the sweetest, kindest man. I love to hear him speak, his advice is always filled with such sincerity and love for all of us. He is just an amazing man. Apparently while they were talking it came up that this day was coming. Lance told him that we would be going to the temple that day.
As we were walking down the steps I was wiping my eyes looking down at the stairs so I didn't fall. When we got to the bottom, there was our stake president. He works in the Salt Lake Temple, so not unusual for him to be there, but right there at that very moment was very odd. Lance shook his hand, then I smiled and shook his hand. He smiled and said, "keep smiling" in his most sincere kind self. I didn't know that he knew it was Tatum's death date, so I thought that was funny for him to say that. After Lance told me about his interview earlier, I knew that was a tender gift from our Heavenly Father. How sweet to run into someone that I so admire.
When we got home I visited for a little bit, then I went to the baptism of my friends little boy. I have known her and her family for a lot of years. Again, there were the tender feelings of never getting to see these ordinances for Trevin and Tatum, but overall I had such good feelings. I love the songs that are played at baptisms, they are so beautiful. Then the talks that were given were so sweet. My friends little girl who is 10 gave the sweetest, most sincere, poised talk I have ever seen from a person her age. Her oldest daughter played an amazing piece on the piano and then their grandpa gave a really sweet talk. He referenced a story from President Eyring's book that was really cool. He talked about how we need to always be preparing ourselves, not only for ourselves but so we can always be available to help others. He said that you should be obedient and constantly be doing the small things you are asked to do, like help put up chairs or do your home teaching or help clean the church. These are the small things that, if done with a cheerful heart, they are practice for the hard things that come along, like trials of your own or helping others through trials. He said it much better, but that was the idea. I knew that I was supposed to be doing these things. I was supposed to be at the wedding and this baptism. I was spiritually fed at both. The ordinances that I was getting to witness today were very sacred and special. Where else would my kids want me? Orchestrated, I think so!
While I was gone, Halea took Heidi and Holden to Bridal Veil Falls for a hike. She wanted to be in nature to remember sweet Tatum. I was so grateful that she took time to be with her brother and sister. She is a great example to me, and so tender when it comes to our sweet Tatum.
As I was driving home from the baptism, I was thinking about the day up to this point. I was pondering what our stake president had said to us in the Temple, "keep smiling". It made me smile, and then I was thinking back on this year. I have really tried to smile through all of this. I have really felt like humor helps me through hard things. I hope that this is how people have seen us as a family. We all have felt such deep love from our Heavenly Father through all of this, and we feel like this is how we show him that we understand. We know that we are eternal beings. We know that we will see Tatum and Trevin again. This knowledge does not take away the sting of death and separation, but that knowledge allows us to carry on. Not just carry on, but have joy in our lives right here and now. I truly do feel that. Halea posted a picture yesterday with this quote from Sister Hinckley, "The trick is to ENJOY life. Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead." I loved this. It is not an easy thing to do during the hard times, but I have felt buoyed by my faith that one day, all will be whole again. My hope is that my Heavenly Father has felt that love from me, and that we have been good examples of this.
I love motto's. While I was driving thinking about all of this I thought it would be cool to have a motto, learned from this past year. Smiling came to mind. "Smile through the trial". Nailed it. It was better than "laugh through the crap", right? (That doesn't even really rhyme) Sometimes it helps to do what we wish we felt. I am a big believer that you become what you do. If you are frowning and complaining and sad all of the time, this is what you will become. Smile through the trial.
I went home and we visited with the grandparents for a bit before Lance and I left for the temple. We picked up two of our friends that were coming. When we got to the chapel inside the temple three of our other friends had come. My good friend that I work with and her husband and one of our Angel Watch patients that has become such a sweet friend. It was so sweet of them to take time out of their busy Saturday to come and support us. It was awesome to be in the temple with people that we love. I was so grateful that we had all made that a part of our day. Again, I know that was another place that we were supposed to be.
While we were gone, the grandparents took Hilary to Walmart to buy her a new bike. A few days ago, Halea had accidentally run over Hilary's little bike that she loves. It is the same little bike that Halea used to learn to walk when she was just a year old! I think I was sadder than Hilary. So when we got home, this is what we found! A very thrilled Hilary. I have a feeling that I am going to be spending a lot of time outside watching her ride her bike. Thanks grandmas and grandpa.
We all loaded up and went to the cemetery to clean off all of the pin wheels and plants because the cemetery will clean off all of the graves on Tuesday and there were things that we wanted to keep and put back out. One of our friends had dropped off some bubbles so we brought those with us. One of my favorite memories with little Tater bug was of us sitting out on the porch and the girls blowing bubbles for her. I think this might have to be a new tradition. It was really fun.
Hilary was not about to take her helmet off to go to the cemetery. Love this girl. We weren't sure how to even explain to Hilary what this day signified, so we just let her be and do the normal things that she usually does.
After the cemetery we grabbed some pizzas and went back to the house. It was truly a way better day than I would have ever planned. I am grateful for all those that remembered with us, either silently or through deed.
Two of my friends that came to the temple with us brought this to us.