In Illinois there is a city called Nauvoo, which roughly translated means "city beautiful." It is a small city right across the Mississippi River that has no major highways leading to it. However, it is a place of significant history to people of the LDS faith. Last weekend we journeyed there as a family and although the trip was planned months in advance, it was not without difficulties. The biggest challenge we faced was Topher coming down with a high fever the night before we were supposed to leave. The morning of our trip, he had a fever of 103 degrees, and you could tell he felt miserable. However, we could not postpone the trip as my entire family was going to be there (my uncle had even flown in from California), so we had to keep alternating Motrin and Tylenol until Topher's fever was under control. Once he seemed to be doing a little better, we hit the road. We were fully expecting him to sleep most of the way, but unfortunately he didn't sleep a wink the entire 3 hours. (In fact, he wouldn't sleep at ALL that day from 5:30am until almost 6pm that night.) It was a huge relief getting to our hotel and seeing my family as they trickled in. I prayed and hoped that Topher's fever would break overnight, but instead it was one of the worst nights we have ever had with him. He was burning up the entire night, never able to sleep more than a few minutes at a time.
The next morning my eyes were completely blood-shot and I was more than disappointed that Topher's fever had not broken. However, nothing was going to stop me from doing what I came to do in Nauvoo, and that was going to the Nauvoo temple with my family. Leaving Topher with my sister-in-law Katie (who is AMAZING with him--better than us, we decided), TJ and I went to the temple together. We went through a ceremony where we made covenants with God, and then we were sealed together in a beautiful room with my family sitting all around. (In our faith, we believe that you can be "sealed" or joined together in the temple for time and all eternity, not just "until death do you part.") After TJ and I were sealed together, Topher was brought in the room and we were all sealed together as a family unit. When one of the temple workers carried him in, he was sleeping like an angel in her arms, all dressed in white, and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. (Until he woke up and cried through the very short ceremony, but I fully expected that. And he was fine a few minutes later, he's just always grumpy when he first wakes up.) That was the other thing...earlier in the temple, while not really thinking about Topher at all, I had a very strong and overwhelming feeling flood my body and I just knew that he was okay and that his fever had broken. I realize that might not sound like much, but things like that never happen to me, so it was an amazing sensation. I really really knew, down to my core, that Topher was fine. Sure enough, Katie said that when he woke up from his nap he was all sweaty and that she didn't need to give him his next dose of medicine because he no longer had a fever.
We spent the remainder of the day resting (it was way too hot to see all the historic sites around Nauvoo, especially with a baby!) and visiting with family. The ride home from Nauvoo was just as sleepless but much better because Topher was a lot healthier.
It was not an easy trip. Topher was sick, we barely got any sleep, the walls of the hotel were anything but soundproof, and the weather was stifling. And yet, I would not trade our Nauvoo weekend for anything in the whole world. I believe that I can now be with my family through the eternities and that by going to the temple, we will receive blessings beyond our imaginations. I want to publicly thank my husband for braving the trip with me and for loving me so much, my family members for coming far and wide to be with us, and my Heavenly Father for constantly watching over us. The temple was absolutely beautiful, and I can't wait to go back again.
When Topher is just a little bit older. And probably in the fall.