Heaven

Always when I’m most exacerbated, it’s 100 degrees outside and I’ve made three trips to and from the car with arms full of necessities, Lola is screaming in her car seat, my phone starts to buzz and we are hitting nothing but red lights already late for karate, when his sweet voice from the backseat asks, “Are your eyes open or closed in heaven?”

Where did that come from? I was just yelling at him to put on his shoes. It’s feel as if at that very moment in time someone out there knows I need perspective. Two someones, my angels, my parents. They are urging me to stop and remember.

I take a deep inhale before I respond, “I don’t know, Lucas. I would think open.”

“Because heaven is whatever you want it to be, right?”, he asks shyly.

“Yes.” I can feel my belly tighten but I’m relieved he remembers this from previous conversations.

“But you’re really still, aren’t you?”

“No, I imagine you can dance and sing and ride your skateboard and eat your favorite desserts and build Lego all day long. You could even learn how to play golf!”

“Really?!”

“Yeah! You get to do whatever you want with anyone who has already died.”

“Like your mom and dad? Could I touch them? I’d like to hug them.”

With tears now running down my face certain of where this was headed, “They would like that very much.”

“So wait, there are stores in heaven?”

Knowing full well that the thought of Lego in heaven would peak his interest. “No, I don’t think so.”

“Then where do the Lego come from?”

“If that is what your idea of heaven is, playing with Lego then they are just there, ready for you. Boxes and boxes of Lego all lined up.”

Now I’m fearful I’ve just sold heaven to my five-year-old.

“What if I need help, you know how sometimes I need help putting them together? Will you and Daddy be there?”

This is getting too deep. And too hard on my heart.

“Lucas, heaven is just an idea. Some people think, I think that if you’re a good person here on earth while you’re alive, when you die you will go to heaven and when you’re there you get to see all of the people that you loved the most who died before you.”

I catch a glimpse of him in the rear view mirror craning his neck to look out the window, “Where is it? Why can’t we go there now? Is it above the clouds and the airplanes? I can’t see it.”

“No, you can’t see it and you don’t want to go until it’s your time.”

“But you’re going to die way after me right?”

“Oh no, I hope not!”

“When are you going to die?”

“Nobody knows when they’re going to die, but I’m going to be here for a very long time so you don’t need to worry about that, okay?”

“How long?”

“I don’t know, but I hope I’ll be here until you are my age.

Shocked that I could pull a number, an age out of thin air, “42? You’re going to die when I’m 42?”

“Lucas, death is very serious. It’s final. When you die, you are no longer here.”

“What would you do if I died?”

“I can’t even bear the thought. I would cry morning, noon and night. I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I would miss you so much.”

“What would you do with my toys?”

“They’d probably stay right where there are for a very long time.”

“You could give them away, Mom. I’d be okay with that.”

I love my son more than words and I sincerely hope I haven’t done irreparable damage to his innocent mind, world or faith with all my talk of a heaven I don’t know exists.

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The Great Debate [In My Head]

I hear Lola stir in her crib upstairs just as I’m half way through an article on the Today Parents Website. She’s cooing and talking joyfully at first and then her pleads became more urgent.

I know as I climb the stairs to her room I’ll never finish the article. I’ll never get back to any of the tabs open on my laptop. At least not today. I’m excited to see my baby as she has been napping for over an hour and we can now take our daily walk and play and look at books together but I’m also dismayed that the quiet me time I had been enjoying for the last 90 minutes is now over. I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I had hoped.  Damn it! Why didn’t I spend more time writing?! 

One of the things I have tried to instill in Lucas is this mantra:

do

Chores before play, put away one game before setting up another, errands before park, etc.

I first heard it two years before I became a mother in the 2007 movie, The Great Debaters with Denzel Washington. I liked it then and love it now that I have children. I’ve also  tried to follow it myself and it seems to work (most of the time) with my son.

My days are long and start the second my feet hit the floor. Full of tasks I have to do…

Make beds.

Make breakfasts, lunch, snacks, bottles.

Care for the dog.

Lay out clothes.

Change the baby.

Pick up stray socks, dirty bibs, Lego.

Assist Lucas as he packs his backpack.

Load the car.

It’s no different in your house.

Mornings are particularly and notoriously busy for households with children, trying to get everyone what they need to start the day.

A mom’s “have to do’s” last All. Day. Long. As soon as one need is met, it is followed up with another and another and another. And even our free time is not our own because when the kids are in school or napping is when the real work happens. I mean, who can sweep the floor with an adorable seven-month-old scooting around or an anxious Kindergartener ready to play another round of UNO? I certainly can’t.

So, alas… the things I want to do fall by the wayside. I make sure to exercise five days a week because if I don’t, I start to get twitchy. But apart from that, all I want to do lately is write. Writing is tricky, I can’t just sit down at my desk and write, I have to first peruse the Internet, respond to an e-mail, pay a bill, place a Diapers.com order, take a Buzz Feed quiz, get lost in the vortex that is Facebook.

I must tell myself every morning: After the kids are in bed and dinner is cleaned up and put away, I’ll stay up late and write.

And every night I crash within minutes of my children or I fall into bed too exhausted to do anything but exchange a few words with my husband and watch another episode of Chopped while I play Words With Friends.

Sigh! It’s the great debate in my head these days… when to write. Not what to write, just when?!?!

I was on a roll the other day and considered giving Lola a piece of paper to keep her occupied for a few minutes. And then I thought better and got down on the floor with her and worked on spit bubbles and mouth noises. It was time better spent, but my head is on overdrive and I must find some hours in the day to devote to writing. 

Do you struggle with this too? When do you find the time to do the things you’re passionate about?

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