Last week I received an early Christmas gift as my daughter received her endowment. She is not getting married and she is not going on a mission. She just decided it was time for her to take this step in her life. Fortunately her bishop and her stake president agreed.
She is not my first child, but she is the first of my children to go through the temple. It was a delightful experience to be there with her on that remarkable day. It was not an easy day, and it made me think of two or three other difficult days I've been in the temple.
When our family was sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, it was after driving nearly non-stop from Pittsburgh, PA, to Salt Lake City. My parents were exhausted as we looked for the KOA campground near Point of the Mountain, and to listen to us in the car that evening, one would never have guessed we wanted to be together for another ten minutes let alone for eternity. (In fairness, I assume we won't be stuck in a 1964 Buick station wagon for eternity.) Yet we were sealed the next day, and it was a singularly spiritual event.
On my own endowment day, as I've blogged here, I was sprayed by a truck cleaning the sidewalk as I walked to the Provo Temple. But the sun dried me off and I survived.
On my wife's endowment day, we had missed the information that I also should arrive early at the temple (I knew I had to be in the session, of course) and got a frantic phone call from her saying that I needed to be at the temple RIGHT NOW. I made it in time enough.
And there was plenty of external excitement on the day my daughter was endowed, but we rode those waves all the way to the temple door, and stepped gently into the peaceful arms of the spirit of temple worship.
Going to the temple was not, for my daughter, a quick choice. It was a lifetime of choices that led to her being there that day, and I am grateful for those choices in her life and to those who helped her make them. Yes, her mother and I had some positive influence on her, but we do not take credit for her choices; they are hers alone. But we are proud of her (in that acceptable post-Benson/Uchtdorf sort of way).
It was very cool for me to sit through the session and see it with new eyes, wondering how she saw what I saw. And it is wonderful that she is planning to go back again tomorrow.