Tonight while the older boys were at the Priesthood session of Conference I took the three little kids to play at the park. At first they threw a ball around, warming their arms up for the upcoming baseball season. Then they ran around the playground like maniacs and then finally settled down into a corner with their sand toys and tried to build sand castles strong enough to resist the damage of a tossed baseball.
As I watched my kids play and enjoyed the quiet chatter they made (they've been fighting like crazy lately) an older couple approached the playground with their teenage son.
I could tell that their son had recently had some sort of brain injury, his body looked as if he had been healthy until recently but for whatever reason he now had slow motor skills.I watched the father help his son onto a swing and proceed to push his son as a pendulum. The mother swaying in the swing next to him.
I imagined what this family may have recently gone through and was touched by the love and care these parents were giving their son. I thought about parenthood and how it really is a life-long commitment to another human being. Sometimes things go different than we plan and we end up taking care of our children a lot longer than we normally think we would. I thought about our Jacob, when he broke his femur. What a year long ordeal that ended up being and how much our family went through to take care of him. How thankful I was that his injuries weren't worse.
I looked at my children playing and watched them in wonder, what wonderful people they are and I was given a new persepective tonight, new gratitude, new wonder.
I watched the family walk down the path and out of sight, the son clinging to his mother's arm.
I guess we never really know the lives we touch, or the reflections we cause, when we are just living life the best we can.
The footprints in the sand under that son's swing will be gone tomorrow, but they will forever be in this picture, and probably in my head as well.