by Margaret Turley
On March 14th, my newest granddaughter, Anna Kate Turley, was born. She weighed 7# 13 oz and was 21 inches long. I had the privilege to be there and help take care of her older sisters, Miriam age 2, and Elizabeth age 4 & 1/2, while the "Yucky part" was happening. Then I got to watch as they came into the room to meet their baby sister.
The night before as Kevin and Laura visited with me, Laura expressed her fear that perhaps there would be more sibling rivalry with this birth than when Miriam was born. Her mother, Sandi, and I commiserated and discussed the probabilities. Each of us has dealt with the problem when our children were younger or with other families.
Miriam's first astonishing words were: "Adorable Anna." She was fascinated with the new life her mother cradled against her breast. Elizabeth cooed over the baby and started singing songs to her. I don't believe I've witness a more loving scene anywhere. Each one was anxious to assist with feeding and holding their baby sister. Both were filled with wonder at her perfect body with 10 long fingers, 10 long toes and very dark hair and eyes.
When mother and baby came home the excitement continued. Miriam always wanted to know where Anna was. Elizabeth wanted to kiss and hug her at every opportunity. Anna wasn't happy unless being held. Of course this was a considerable "hardship" to let her snuggle in my arms for hours at a time. (I drank in every moment as the opportunity wouldn't last very long.)
It was hard to pack up and drive away to Chicago and fly home on Wednesday. I wished I could stay with them and soak up the love, the fresh baby smells, the toddler chatter and bouncy enthusiasm, and the pre-school "I'm the big sister" attitude.
Now that I'm home, back at work, I miss them all so much.
I wonder how heavenly mother feels as she gazes down upon us. Does she miss being able to hug us close to her and whisper endearments and consolations in our ears? Does she shiver in anticipation of faults she knows we are bound to make in our earthly trial period and hope that we learn well enough to return? Does she hide her face in Heavenly Father's Shoulder when she is disappointed by the choices some of us make that must cause her unbearable pain?
Does Heavenly Father work hand-in-hand with Heavenly Mother to nudge us on to do our best like I watched my son and his wife do every day and night by having family prayer, individual prayers with each child, scripture study, singing of children's hymns and bedtime stories? I was comforted to see how wonderfully they work in tandem. In spite of all the mistakes I made while raising my children, he seems to have overcome the challenges of his past, tackles the current ones at hand, and looks forward to the future with hope and faith.
My heart is filled with gratitude that he has a wonderful, kind and understanding wife who keeps the household running smoothly and gives all the attention to my three granddaughters that they need and deserve.
My heart bursts with Thanksgiving for the sacrifice our Savior gave freely to us by his atonement so that we might have eternal life. I believe I glimpsed a small slice of it this week.