We've been taking periodic pictures of the temple's progress with our boys in the same place. For a long time I thought it was special, and then I realized one day that a third child would join in this family tradition before the temple was erected and I would get choked up imagining what our pictures would look like with our 3rd kid. Honestly, I didn't envision the car seat, but he was way too little for my other kids to hold him in this shot, so here it is, our 1st picture with all 3 boys as our family anticipates the completion of the Gilbert Temple. Miles is only 2 weeks old.
I also heard months ago that the Angel Moroni would be going up after all the other outside panels were done, and that it wouldn't be a publicly announced event, but if I kept my eyes and ears open I might be able to realize when it was going up. The visitor's center guide said there would probably be a leak of the information somehow. When I heard that the outside panels were schedule to be finished sometime in May, I just knew that having a baby at the beginning of May would make me miss it, and I didn't want that to happen. My heart would sink when I would drive by after I had the baby and then I would get hopeful again when I would realize the Angel Moroni was NOT up, yet.
On Monday night around 9pm, I got a text from my friend Cheri. She told me Angel Moroni was on display, so I knew it was close. I figured the next day I would take my boys to the Visitor's Center and look at it, and I prayed that night that we would be able to see the Angel Moroni go up whenever it was going to happen this month. Well, the next morning I just happened to tell my mom on the phone that I heard Angel Moroni was on display, and she said, "Oh, yeah, Heber's Seminary teacher said Angel Moroni was going up today." I was like, "WHAT?!" It was 8am and I IMMEDIATELY started getting my kids ready. I had no idea when it was going up, but I knew the temple workers started early and I was NOT going to miss it in case it went up in the morning. It took me 30 minutes to get ready with all 3 kids and I packed water, gatorade, snacks, scooters, helmets, and the diaper bag and I loaded everyone in the car. The kids were watching Chronicles of Narnia and I told them we were going to turn it off so we could see the Angel Moroni go up, and they said, "But we don't want to see Angel Moroni going up," and I was like, "Oh, YES YOU DO!"
I had a dentist appointment scheduled for 1pm and when I heard rumor the Angel Moroni would be up by 2pm, I called my dentist office to cancel the appointment. Before I did that, I called my mother in law who was supposed to watch my kids to tell her I wasn't coming IN CASE the Angel Moroni was going to go up that day. She asked, "Are you going to have to pay a fee for canceling your appointment last minute?" and I told her I didn't care if they charged me, I was not showing up. Luckily, the office was very nice and because I haven't canceled before, they didn't charge me anything. And then lucky for me, my sweet mother in law dropped her plans and came to the park to help out her CRAZY daughter-in-law with a newborn. Thank goodness she showed up, too, because my children were all over the place and I simply could not keep them reigned in by myself, especially when I had to sit down and nurse the baby. Thanks to Myrna, my other boys didn't get lost chasing baby ducks and the like.
The morning was actually quite beautiful. There was a STRONG summer breeze, but it made the time at the park in the morning bearable. The hard part about being at the park for so long was that it was hard to know if we should stay or not. Around 10:30 a bunch of people started showing up and walking across the street and then about an hour later they all left. There were so many rumors of when it was going to happen, it was hard to know what was true. I heard it was possibly going up at 10:30, 12:00, 2:00, 4:00 and possibly even THE NEXT DAY. I heard it was canceled because of the wind. I heard it would go up whenever there was a break in the wind. By lunch time I had no idea if we should stay or go, but that's when my father-in-law, Dale showed up with lunch, and so did my friend Jenny, and my mom came, and my dad and Mitch came, and Brian showed up and there was a little excitement with the crane moving, so we all stayed put. Well, 2 hours later, it finally happened.
Before the Angel went up, I was talking to my dad and he was humming the Spirit of God hymn. When the angel was actually in place, we all cheered. It was so special. My heart just caught in my throat to see the angel being lifted up. It was such a beautiful sight. Where I was standing, we didn't actually sing the hymn the Spirit of God, but it was going through my head for DAYS afterward, and I guess across the street they were singing. I wish I could have heard them, because we would have sang it with them and then maybe that song would have helped my kids remember the experience. Tyson was the only one of my kids still awake by the time Moroni was completely in place. Emmett saw it starting, but zonked out before it was done. I'm so glad that Mitchell made it--we thought he was going to be in Phoenix, and all my cell phone updates seemed to persuade Mitch and my dad to just drop what they were doing and come see the once in a life-time experience.
I'm so glad that Jenny made it, too. It was crazy with the crowd, but it was worth it, and we hope that our little guys will remember this experience. If nothing else, at least we have pictures and they know that we want them to be a part of this temple being erected. That we know that temples unite families for eternity and that it is our deepest desire to have an eternal family. I hope my children will feel the power of the temple and never forget it as they grow up and that their children will feel it, too.
My mom decided to pull Heber out of school. She made it back about 15 minutes before the Angel went up. I'm so glad he got to come. Some of his friends actually tried to get him to ditch school and go, and he kind of thought about it, but he was rewarded anyway for his goodness, and my mom pulled him out of school. It was neat that Jodi had the day off and that Taylor got to see this before his mission. We just missed having Erin here.
I'm so glad that Heavenly Father answered my prayer and that we didn't miss seeing the Angel Moroni go up, even though is was an all day process for me since I wasn't one of the people "in the know" about the exact timing. After Angel Moroni went up, Tyson and I were holding hands and walking back to the shade and I told him how neat it is that he got to see this. I told him--"I'm 27, and you're 4, and we BOTH got to see the Angel Moroni get put on the temple FOR THE FIRST TIME in our lives today." As I've driven by the temple in the last few days I've felt the power of being able to be there, and the memory is just as strong, if not stronger than what it felt like to be there. It's so special. I love this temple. I feel like it is "my" Gilbert temple. It's such a blessing to have it built in my home-town. I can't wait until next year when it opens, and I hope and pray that my children will remember this experience. I hope that one of their earliest memories is seeing this temple being built--it's a once in a life time kind of experience.