Last night the alarm I’d set on my phone for 7:30 pm went off, reminding me that it was time to go. We’re really working hard at getting to bed these days, and as it takes so long, we begin early. I had forgotten about the alarm, and since I was deep in conversation at our extended family dinner, I gratefully finished chatting and began trying to gather children.
And then it occurred to me: Where is Peter?
And then I realized: I had forgotten to pick him up. An hour and a half ago!
How is that possible? I racked my mind. I had planned so carefully yesterday! Everything was ready, and we were headed out within minutes of when I had hoped to leave, on our way to drive past his soccer field to pick him up from practice. And I had sat and eaten dinner and visited with family and not even remembered him that entire 90 minutes?
I felt horrible. We hurried home, concerned when no one answered the phone. Eliza ran into the house before I could park, and there he was, with red eyes, watching The Hobbit.
I was so relieved. SO relieved.
I thought of the scripture in 1 Nephi 21:15, about how a woman might forget her child, but the Savior will never forget, because he has “graven us on the palms of his hands.” I had been that woman.
When I went to bed last night, and when I arose this morning, I was thinking about this. Why didn’t I remember? Was I too occupied with other, less important details? Listening to other children talk about their day? Too tired from a short night’s sleep and an early morning?
I was reading in the scriptures, when I read Alma 37:17: “For he will fulfil all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers.” I wanted to tell Peter, to tell all my children, that I will disappoint them at times. I am not God, and I am not perfect. They already find too many times when I am not able to do what I thought I could do. “Mom, you promised you would read to me tonight!” (I hadn’t promised, but I had said we would, which is my word, but we got back too late.) Or, “But you said we could finish the movie today!” (You are right, but we didn’t anticipate having these visitors stop by that you played with.)
I wanted to tell them that God will never disappoint us. He always does what He says he will. He never makes mistakes or underestimates or exaggerates or plans imperfectly. He supports us perfectly.
I had the opportunity to share my thought with them this morning, when we read about how Nephi’s brothers wouldn’t support him when he was supposed to build this ship to carry all of them across the ocean to the promised land. How disappointing that would have been! I told them about someone with whom I had visited with yesterday, who had a wedding reception in her backyard for a young woman whose mother couldn’t or wouldn’t help her with it. I told them that if they will do what God asks, he will help them. Either he will give them the strength and ability and resources to accomplish what he asks, or he will provide people who can encourage and support and help. Or he will comfort them.
I told them about a time when I was so worried about how I was going to get through the first few days after having (I think it was) my fifth baby. I didn’t know how the delivery would go and if I would be able to keep up with the demands of the new baby and the four younger ones. My mom was serving a mission. I prayed to know who could help. I got a phone call from my sister-in-law, who asked if I would like her to come help. She came. She was my angel. I will never forget that. I will love her forever for it!
People will disappoint us. We will disappoint people. I think it is so helpful to know this from the get go, because then when it happens, we won’t feel like life is wrong, that it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Children will disappoint us sometimes, and that is ok, because then we will remember that they were never supposed to be perfect, and that we aren’t perfect ourselves.
I’m so grateful we don’t have to be perfect! It is so relieving! I still pray that Peter will forgive me, and I am grateful for another day to try to remember the people who matter most above the details that aren’t as important. And I’m grateful for a loving Savior whose atonement will someday turn all of our disappointments and sorrows into joys. “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isa.61:3)