Earlier this week we watched some 8mm video family footage from almost eight years ago. Beans was a baby. Loula Belle was a preschooler, and Bug was starting elementary school. I’ve been surprised that my kids have referenced the night’s film footage throughout this week. Bug mentioned it as he had a snack of animal crackers. “Look,” he said, “I’m reverting to my childhood tendencies.” Loula Belle reminded Bug that his teasing tendencies started years ago, and Beans wondered if we could take some more footage of her, as she’s not in the earliest videos.
Then, today in Relief Society we were talking about teaching reverence at home. Some of the discussion referenced the sometimes irreverent behavior of small children in Sacrament meeting. I thought back to some memorable moments in my own children’s lives, and that’s when a new realization dawned on me. The best childhood moments aren’t captured on film.
There was no camcorder handy to capture three-year-old Bug listening to the closing prayer in Sacrament meeting, quietly mumbling the words after the prayer-giver. (I was feeling so proud.) Then, as the long prayer began winding down, Jared just couldn’t wait any longer. Just as the man began . . . “we say these things in the name of . . .” Jared VERY LOUDLY said, “AMEN!” I could see the shoulders of congregation members seated around us silently shaking with inner laughter.
Children’s prayers, in fact, are an area almost totally missing from our family film footage. Here are some prayers captured only in my memory:
Bug, age 2 ½, saying his nightly prayer: “And please bless Barney [the purple dinosaur].”
Loula Belle, age 3: “. . . Thankful we could watch a video today, and thankful we can watch a video tomorrow.”
Bug, age 4ish, before our corn dog lunch: “. . . Please bless Lou that she’ll learn to like mustard.” (And, amazingly, she has learned to love it!)
Loula Belle, age 4: “. . . Thankful we could have a good, good, good, good, good, good day!”
I’ve kept a Steno-type notebook for each of my kids where I write down the funny things they’ve said – the moments and magic that didn’t make it onto film. Here are a few of my favorites that are gospel related.
September 1999: At Bug’s first parent teacher conference Miss Liza shared a little story that helped us know our efforts to read the Book of Mormon as a family have actually been sinking in. She told us they’d been reading a book called, “The Rainbow Fish.” It talked about having pride. “Does anyone know what it means to have pride?” she asked the class. Bug raised his hand, and she called on him. “It means that you are stiff-necked,” he said. That’s when she knew that he’d been reading from the Book of Mormon.
May 2001: I was resting on my bed due to recent back pain. Loula Belle (age 4) came in to talk with me. Somehow we got on the subject of what it will be like in heaven. “We’ll be floating around in the clouds,” was her take on the after-life.
“Actually,” I explained, “we’ll be with other family members and friends who died before us.”
“But how can we see them?” she wanted to know. “Will we just have our eyes?” (She knew that our bodies didn’t go with us when we die, and wondered if just our eyes did.)
I explained that spirits can see spirits and that eventually we’d be resurrected – our bodies and spirits would come back together.
“Oh,” she said. “Like Grandma?”
“Grandma Glenna,” she replied.
“But Grandma Glenna hasn’t died,” I said.
“Well, her name is on a stone in the cemetery,” said Lou.
Dear Lou had thought that since Grandma’s name and birth date were already on the headstone with Grandpa’s that meant that Grandma had died. Only Grandma Glenna was here with us – we could see her. To Loula Belle that meant one thing – Grandma must be resurrected.
And finally, August 2002: We were reading the Book of Mormon the other night as a family. It was Loula Belle’s turn to read a few verses. Although she’s very good at reading, sometimes she’ll read the first of a word and guess at the rest. So she’s reading along and says, “. . . thus sayeth the Lord of Hostess. . .” and then again she read, “. . . Lord of Hostess. . .” I guess to a little girl that loves sweets , Lord of Hostess would truly be a mighty important being.