I was sitting Indian-style in our yard the other day watching my daughter, Allie. She was doing bouts of cartwheels while I observed, giggling at her and pondering how many bug bites I would receive from my short stay in the ridiculously green grass. Five. Five bug bites, which were well worth being her sole audience.
When Allie was a baby, I often wondered what she would be like when she could walk, talk, run, jump, flip, and laugh wholeheartedly. The answer is fabulous and tornado-like, serious yet hilarious, and everything that I could’ve ever wanted. Presently, the bulk of her time at home is spent finding a new way to make her body flip and new ways to make me laugh. Both amuse me terribly. The punchline to most of her jokes is “Yo Mama.” I know that in fifteen years she will be one of those people who says, “That’s what she says” after most statements. And I’m fine with that, because nothing makes me more happy than hearing her loud, belly laughs.
Speaking of laughter, she recently told me that she liked the way my laugh sounded. I was glad, because I spend a lot of time laughing. (Yet another thing for which I am eternally grateful.)
In other wordly events, she has recently decided that her cream-colored walls need painted pink. Immediately. The totally pink transformation of doom must be accomplished “very soon,” according to her.
On a recent shopping trip for fall shoes, she turned down all of them. She wants to wear flip-flops forever because her “toes do not like to be closed up.” Mine don’t either, but I kindly explained to her how necessary it was that her lovely pink toes didn’t freeze off. After all, if your toes freeze off, you won’t be able to paint your toenails. The idea of not having toenails to paint frightened her into finally picking out a pair of tennis shoes and some dressier closed toe shoes. Mostly, she worried about why the high heels didn’t come in her size.
She no longer allows me to take pictures of her doing normal things; rather, she makes some strange pose. I still snap the photo, and I am always surprised at how well her strange pose turned out.
Her questions and thoughts go outside of the realm of clothing, colors, and laughter. She wants to discuss Heaven a lot lately. Where it is? Do I believe in it? What does it mean? Are all of the people that she knows in Heaven friends with one another? Does my grandmother keep Adam’s grandfather company? What do they eat in heaven, and how do you get there? Can I show her heaven on the internet, she asks.
“No,” I reply.
“Not even on Youtube?”
“Not even on Youtube.”
I consider taking her to Amazon and clicking books or the Shoes & Footwear portion of the Macy’s Web site, but I resist the urge. Serious questions often deserve serious answers, even if you are just three. Whether you are three or fifty-three, you more than likely deserve some sort of explanation. So we talk about Heaven for a while, and she falls asleep. Her red curls almost fade into the heart-shaped pillow on which she insists to sleep, even if it is barely larger than her head.
The following morning I wake up to her poking me on the shoulder, cheek, and almost in the eye. Finally, I look over at her. “Why are you still sleeping?” she asks in a whisper.
“I’m tired,” I reply.
“Well, come French braid my hair. Two braids, please,” she requests, smiling at me and hopping into the living room wearing only a pair of underwear likely adorned with a princess emblem.
And so I do. I walk into the living room to braid her hair, to make her breakfast, and to laugh at the morning cartoons with her.
Maybe I can’t show her heaven on the internet, but I can certainly show her what heaven on earth is for me.