Today we had a special Stake Conference presided over by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. He was here for an area leadership training and apparently our stake hasn't had an Apostle visit since 1973 or something, so we were "the winner". It was really wonderful.
We got there at 8:30 and the meeting started at 9. Walter was dawdling in the hall and Matt had gone in to get a seat ahead of us. By the time I got there, Matt said he'd had the opportunity to shake Elder Oaks hand. DRAT! How could I have missed such an opportunity because my child was...being a child???! I was pretty disappointed until Matt said, "Hey, he's going up the other side of the building greeting people." So the boys and I went and sat at the opposite side of the cultural hall and "waited our turn" to meet Elder Oaks. By the time he got to us, Walter was laying all over me and Dean had turned my hand into a pillow, so I kind of had to wrestle my hand away to actually shake his! He said, "Sometimes it's hard to get a hand when you have such a handful." and then smiled an understanding smile. I stood Walter up on my lap knowing full well that he'd not remember the encounter, but wanting him to meet an Apostle of the Lord nonetheless. He patted him on the head and said, "Hello darling." He was kind and genuine and I felt blessed to have the chance to meet him, even briefly.
I understand he is only a man, but my heart was touched to quiet tears as I watched him go through out the congregation, trying his very best to reach each person personally, to shake everyone's hand and let them know that they were loved. I felt as though he was doing exactly what the Lord would be doing were he the visitor of our conference. Truly, in his word and action, he is a special witness of Jesus Christ.
He spoke on Priesthood authority in the home. It was somewhat difficult to hear all of his message because 2 little boys were so restless from sitting in the same place for 2 hours, however, I caught a lot more than I had anticipated. The most memorable part of his talk for me was when he spoke of his own family dynamics of having 5 children in his twenties and then a sixth child in their 40s. He said for his first 5 he mainly gave father's blessings at "big events" like when his kids went off to college, got married, etc. But something he learned in the 13 year gap between his youngest and second youngest was that father's blessings were also for every day challenges as well. When a child is having a hard time in a specific class or with friends, etc. that we should teach them to seek after a father's blessing for comfort and direction. He said that by the time his youngest was grown, he realized he'd given the youngest more father's blessings that the other five combined. Matt and I have always had a different view on how often one should give father's blessings, so I felt like this was good and applicable instruction for us.
I know that Christ lives and I know that there are living Prophets and Apostles on the earth today. I know that I shook the hand of a special witness of the Lord today, and I am grateful to have had that opportunity.