Sixteen years ago, I experienced a glimpse of the healing power of the Savior's touch. It was a late Saturday morning and I was still in my robe . I remember being so flustered with what wasn't getting done that day. The house was a mess, the kids still undressed, laundry all over and I was so exhausted. I was overwhelmed and unproductive. As I made a feeble attempt to clean the kitchen one last time, a brand new bottle of ketchup slipped out of my hands and splattered all over the floor, the walls, the table, the cupboards, and all over me. I just stood there in the mess, unable to move. All I could do was cry. Totally unaware of who was in the room, or what anyone was doing, I stood there with tears streaming down my face, feeling total despair and so alone.....until I felt an ever so gentle, loving touch. I looked down to see small , three-year old hands clutching a wash cloth, tenderly wiping the ketchup from off of my feet. As I write this, I can still vividly recall Natalie's sweet little face staring up at me with the hope that her loving act of kindness would not just wipe away the ketchup, but more importantly wipe away my tears.
I have reflected on that experience many times throughout the years. I was taught so much about the Savior that day because of a little girl who knew so much, even at three years of age. I believe that Natalie's spirit was mature enough to know that my tears were not for the spilled ketchup. Perhaps she was even wise enough to know that it was her touch, her Christ-like touch, that brought healing and peace to a very troubled heart that Saturday morning so many years ago.
We often refer to Natalie as an "old soul". She has always seems so much older than her actual age. Today she is nineteen, but her soul is years beyond that. Natalie is so wise. Her mature, wise spirit is a divine gift that accompanied her to earth as a baby. She has continued to hone that gift as she has gotten older and experienced more of life. Many times, I have become the student, learning and gleaning from her, truly in awe of the insights she offers. I have often contemplated my role as the mother of someone who was so blessed with such wisdom and spiritual knowledge. And when I ponder this, I know in my heart, that she was sent to our home to teach and guide me....and she does.
Natalie is sensitive, in every sense of the word. On a lighter note, she is sensitive to germs, or rather environments that invite the nasty little critters. She detests double dipping, using each other's utensils, and heaven forbid if she find a hair in or near what she is eating. I love to have Natalie clean the kitchen; my table and counters are thoroughly sanitized by the time she gets done.
I cherish her sensitive nature in every aspect. I remember a very sweet conversation she and I had a few years ago. The subject was forgiveness. Natalie was struggling in a matter of offering forgiveness and she was very sensitive to the fact that she was failing in a particular instance. I listened, and once again was taught what a valiant, mature spirit was like. She wanted to be forgiving. She wanted to put it behind her. She recognized that she hadn't and she committed to work hard to have a forgiving heart.
Two nights ago, Jared and I, with Natalie, Holly and Hannah, went to see The Dark Knight Rises. In the scene where Batman tells officer Gordon that he remembered when someone once told him that "everything would be alright" when his parents were shot when he was just a boy; I looked over to see tears welling up in Natalie's eyes. Who cries in a Batman movie!? Natalie does! She cries in commercials that are in the least bit sentimental to her. She cries when she listens to songs that tug at her heart. She cries every night as she watches her beloved "Dr. Who" series. I actually adore this in Natalie. Many would think otherwise, but she wears her heart-strings right on her sleeve in full view for anyone to pull.
Speaking of how others may perceive her, I think she has everyone fooled. He quick and witty remarks would make others think that she has nerves of steel and feelings to match. That is so far from who Natalie is deep down inside. Her feelings are very tender and even fragile. When Natalie is aware of financial struggles, personal concerns, or anything that involves someone she loves, her feelings run deep. She wants to make things all better so everyone can just be happy again. Sometimes I think it would be hard to be Natalie. She never shuts down when it involves matters of the heart; her heart or the heart of anyone she loves. She aches and hurts when other do.
As I think of who Natalie is, I have come to conclusion that she is the best parts of both Martha and Mary. Her personality isn't one that stands out or is comfortable being the center of attention in a big crowd. She loves attention, but goes about getting it in quiet ways. Like Martha, she is often behind the scenes plugging away at life, doing what she likes to do and often enjoying her solitude. Like Mary, she seeks opportunities to better herself, be where she should be, doing what she should be doing .
Today, I have shed a few tears thinking about Natalie. I am so honored to be her mother. I have such deep respect for who she is. A couple of days ago, she made the comment: "I am going to be an amazing wife." Yes, you are Natalie. You will be an amazing wife. You will be an amazing mother. I know this because you are an amazing person and desire righteousness. May the Lord continue to bless you as you strive to become what you know you are to become. I love you dear daughter. Happy Birthday. Mommy