Beth skipped up the sidewalk to her house. She could see Dad in the driveway, loading the car with suitcases. “Is it time to go?” she called out.
“Just about,” Dad said. “Run inside and grab a snack. And make sure you have everything you want to take in your backpack.”
This vacation was going to be extra special. Beth’s older cousin Katy was coming along, and Beth had everything all planned out. On the car ride, Katy could teach her some new camp songs. When they stopped for a picnic, Katy could push her on the swings. And she and Katy could swim in the motel pool and play games. Beth had packed her favorite movie about dogs so they could watch it together.
Katy was so funny and nice. When Beth got older, she wanted to be just like Katy.
Beth ran inside and found Mom sitting at the computer. She was just hanging up the phone.
“Was that Katy?” Beth asked excitedly. “Will she be here soon?”
Mom shook her head. “I’m sorry, honey. Katy isn’t going to be able to go with us after all. Next Saturday she is going to have her patriarchal blessing.”
Beth felt the excitement drain out of her. “Why does Katy need a blessing?” Beth asked. “She was already baptized, and she isn’t a new baby!” Beth almost laughed at that thought.
“Certainly not!” Mom said, smiling.
Then Beth thought of something that made her throat feel tight. “Is Katy sick?” she asked quietly.
“Katy’s just fine,” Mom said. “Blessings aren’t just for baptisms or new babies or sickness. A patriarchal blessing is a very special kind of blessing, and Katy is really excited to have it.”
“But what is it for?” Beth asked.
Mom thought for a moment. “Do you remember when we went to visit Grandma on our last vacation? We made a wrong turn, and it took us a long time to get to her house.”
Beth nodded. “I was really hungry when we got there!”
“Well, what do you think we should do to keep from getting lost this time?” Mom asked.
Beth looked at the computer screen. It showed a map and a blue squiggly line leading from their house all the way to the motel. “Bring a map!” she said.
“Good idea,” Mom agreed. “Katy’s patriarchal blessing will be like a map that shows Katy how to get back to Heavenly Father. It will tell her about good choices she should make and warn her about things that might be harmful. It will tell her about wonderful blessings she will receive when she follows Heavenly Father’s commandments. It will guide Katy through her whole life.”
Beth began to feel a little happier. “Will I get a blessing like that too?” she asked.
“Yes,” Mom said. “When you get older, you can have your own blessing to help you stay on the path back to Heavenly Father.”
Beth turned to the computer. She looked at the map and the bright blue line that told her family just where they needed to go. She looked back at Mom and smiled. “Just like Katy?”
“Yes,” Mom said. “Just like Katy.”