“I want to give Mom something special for Mother’s Day, Josh.” Ten-year-old Sarah, perched on the porch swing, glanced up at her older brother. “You always do.”
Josh sat down on the swing next to his sister and said, “Your gifts are fine. Mine are different because I have a job and can afford to buy her a present. But that doesn’t make them any better than the ones you make for her. You know how much she likes them.”
Josh is right, Sarah thought. Mom does enjoy the crafts I gave her. Still, the jewelry box she’d made this year with Popsicle sticks wasn’t the same as the beautiful rose-colored vase Josh had bought for Mom. That’s why Sarah had decided to do something else, as well as give her the handmade gift.
“Can you keep a secret?” She glanced across the backyard. Other than their three-year-old brother, Nicholas, who was making a roadway in the sandbox, the yard was still.
Josh bent closer to Sarah. “What is it?”
“I’m singing in sacrament meeting tomorrow,” Sarah whispered.
“Doesn’t the Primary always sing in sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day?”
“This is different.” Sarah whispered again. “I’m singing a duet with Lucy Hernandez.”
“A duet with Lucy?” Josh was impressed. “She’s practically a professional!”
“Sister Fields—she’s our new Primary chorister—asked for volunteers last month. I thought it would be something I could do for Mom. Just from me.”
“She’ll love it, Sarah,” Josh said with a warm smile.
“Thanks. I’ve been practicing in my room every chance I get, when Mom’s not around to hear me. And I’ve been helping Nick too.”
“You mean Nick’s going to sing with the Primary?” Josh stared at Sarah. “He won’t even sit through Sharing Time without Mom next to him. How did you talk Mr. Shy Guy into singing?”
“I gave him some extra help with the songs. He’s a fast learner.”
“He has a good teacher, Sarah.”
The next morning Sarah made her announcement as they parked in the church lot. “I’ll be singing with Lucy,” she was saying as she unbuckled her seat belt. “All the Primary classes will sing the first two songs together. For the last song, ‘Families Can Be Together Forever,’ Lucy and I will sing the second verse. Just the two of us.”
“Sarah, that’s wonderful,” Mom said, swinging the car door open. “What a special Mother’s Day this will be!”
Sitting in sacrament meeting, Sarah squirmed a bit as the speakers told about their mothers. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t concentrate.
Finally Sister Fields stepped to the front of the chapel, signaling the children to come forward.
Sarah guided Nicholas to the front row, placing him between two older children. “You’ll do great, Nick,” she whispered. Weaving through several other Primary children, she found her way next to Lucy, who was adjusting the microphone.
Sarah’s heart hammered with excitement as the pianist played the introductory notes for the first song. She was very pleased with how clear her voice sounded as they sang the first song.
As they began the second song, Sarah thought she heard soft crying. She glanced around the large group of children. It looked like everyone was singing. Then she saw Nicholas. He was sitting in a seat usually reserved for speakers, mostly hidden from her behind standing classmates. Tears dripped down his face as he stared at the floor.
As the pianist played the prelude music for “Families Can Be Together Forever,” Sarah edged over to him and dropped to her knees. “What’s the matter, Nick?”
“I want Mommy.”
“Why don’t you sing this song first,” Sarah asked, “then I’ll take you to Mom.”
Nicholas shook his head vigorously while the other Primary children loudly sang, “I have a family here on earth. They are so good to me.”
“Listen, Nick, I’ll take you to Mom as soon as we’re through with this song.”
Nicholas’ chin creased and quivered as he shook his head a second time. He grabbed Sarah’s hand and begged, “Don’t go.”
As the other children sang, “Families can be together forever Through Heavenly Father’s plan,” Sarah looked up at Lucy Hernandez, singing confidently but obviously looking for Sarah.
“I always want to be with my own family,” the Primary choir sang on.
“Please stay here, Sarah,” Nicholas was pleading just as Sarah’s eyes met Lucy’s.
As the other children finished the first verse—“And the Lord has shown me how I can. The Lord has shown me how I can”—Sarah motioned to Lucy with her hand, signaling her to sing alone. Lucy turned, nodding first at Sarah, then to Sister Fields.
Still on her knees, her arm around Nicholas, Sarah quietly listened to Lucy’s clear, beautiful voice. “While I am in my early years, I’ll prepare most carefully.”
Nicholas’s tears subsided, but he continued to cling to his sister while Lucy finished the song: “The Lord has shown me how I can.”
Sarah led Nicholas to where their mother and Josh were sitting and slid into the pew herself so that Brother Pazooki could give the closing prayer. Afterward, still fighting tears, she was surprised to see that her mother’s eyes were also teary. She was even more surprised when her Mother told her, “I’m so proud of you, Sarah!”
“But I didn’t get to sing the duet for you.”
“I know. But when I couldn’t see Nick, I could guess what happened—he needed you with him, didn’t he?”
Sarah nodded, still puzzled.
“You’ve made this a very special Mother’s Day,” Mom continued. “Would you sing that song for me at home? You see, you really lived the words of that song, and I can’t think of a better Mother’s Day present you could give me.”