Every day he tells me, all on his own, that he either loves me, likes me or thinks I look pretty. The other night as I was laying beside him in his little toddler bed, we were saying our prayers. He said, "Thank you, God, for my lovely mom." I have no idea where he learned the word 'lovely'. I have no idea where this phase of sweetness originated. I have no idea how I got so lucky. I know that soon enough the phase will be over, and he'll not want to nuzzle anymore, preferring to wrestle with his dad. If he wants to nuzzle for now, he can all he wants.
One day this week I was walking with him down the street to his friend's house to play. He asked, "Mom, will you stay with me?"
I answered, "Probably not. I'll just drop you off and then go home for a little while before we pick you back up."
"No, I mean, will you stay with me in life?"
I stopped walking and looked down at him. "What?"
He repeated his question. "Will you stay with me in life?"
I stooped down and kissed his face. Always. This unsuspecting child has no idea how committed I am to staying with him in life. I am so going to be that mother who cries for weeks when her children move out for college.
We keep walking. He then says, "Will you be at that place people go when they get dead?"
"Um, a funeral? A cemetery?" Dumb me couldn't figure out what he was asking. We drive past a cemetery pretty often, which he always has a lot of questions about, so I thought this is what he wanted to know. Finally I figured it out.
"Oh, you mean heaven?"
"Yeah, that's it. Heaven. Will you be in the same heaven as me when we both get dead?"
I told him that I really hope so and think that's probably how it'll work. He seemed genuinely concerned about the prospect of us ending up in two different heavens one day. He finally said, "Let's be in the same heaven. Let's keep our promise."
A friend of mine from college has a little boy adopted from Russia. The two of us drifted apart for a long time but have reconnected in the last year. She had a conversation about death and heaven with her son this week too. She wrote this about it:
"Then he asked what happens when we die again and I explained that we won’t. That we will be in heaven forever. He paused and thought. And he said, “So we’ll be alive again? And it will be a better alive?”
On this earth I hold on to Kyle, Sam and others that I love, even to the point of mixed up priorities, but my heart also has a space that longs to be complete with Father in heaven. The space that longs for the better alive."
The Better Alive. I'm remembering that one.