So after our usual Sunday activities, we sat down and watched and listened to what our prophet has to say to us. The two-hour session ended with Elder Uchtdorf's talk. In his talk, he told of a nurse in hospice care. During her time caring for those about to die, she asked her patients what they regretted about life. Some said that they wished they had spent more time with friends and family. Some said that they wished they had spent less time at work. And some said that they wished they had let themselves be happy.
As I listened to Elder Uchtdorf's talk about people who had waited until they were through a stressful situation or done with a part of their life or they reached a certain goal to be happy, I looked at my three little children.
Mothering has not been something I ever looked forward to. I had no glow of anticipation when I was pregnant with Kathleen. Instead I saw myself looking down a long, long tunnel of work work work. I knew that eventually I would be happy with what I had achieved, but for now it was time for long, inglorious, often irritating work.
After conference we went downstairs and ate strawberry-peach ice cream together. Kathleen told silly jokes that are only funny to the under-six crowd while Sophia giggled infectiously. Edwin made capital letter statements about SHARKS being in his stomach that ATE his ICE CREAM. Brandon sang silly songs. And I watched. And smiled. I sat in the warm glow of happiness of a Sunday evening eating ice cream with my children.
Having four children is not usual these days. Recently I've thought about exactly why I have four children and why I hope to have more. Part of it is out of religious duty. Part of it is because I can. Part of it may be insanity - perhaps a large part - although I feel quite sane. Maybe all insane people feel quite sane?
But as I sat in the warm orange glow of our kitchen keeping the dark outside, I knew. I looked at Kathleen. I looked at Sophia. I looked at Edwin. I thought of sweet Joseph asleep in his crib. I thought of each one adding their unique spirit to our family. Like a beautiful melody, each one adds richness and depth to the song of our family.
Of course there are times when they each drive me crazy in their own special way, each so irritating I want to (and unfortunately do) scream. And they are a lot of work, work that leaves me with little time to pursue my own interests. They are anything but convenient, making any trip out of the house into a mini circus for everyone else's amusement.
But all of those times fade away in the moments of peace and happiness and ice cream eaten on a Sunday evening. And I am happy.