I never expected this. No, nobody ever prepared me for this.
But you remind me of Heaven.
Of course, I’ve never been to Heaven. But I’ve dreamed of it and read about it. At times, I’ve even longed for it as I mourn the brokenness in our world. Yes, at times, I’m absolutely longing for Heaven. The way it was meant to be.
And here you are, at three years old, causing me to pause and consider that you are so much like Heaven.
You remind me of Heaven because of your joy.
You find joy in the smallest of things. You celebrate when we pass a fire truck on the road. Or when you unexpectedly run into one of your friends. You scream their name, run over, and wrap your arms around their necks. You climb on top of the slide and announce to anyone close enough to hear that you can see “the whole world” from up there. You are delighted by things like bubbles and airplanes overhead and Cheerios that are stuck together. Your joy is unfathomably like Heaven.
You remind me of Heaven because of your contentment.
You’re happy to spend an hour collecting acorns in the backyard or riding around in the car to take your siblings to their activities. You stare out the window in wonder at the world around you and take it all in as if it were an interesting movie. The most exciting part of your day was seeing your teacher jogging on the sidewalk in our neighborhood. You’re so very content with your life. With the people you see and the things you have. The places we go and the things we’re doing. Your favorite phrase is, “Oh, that’s a great idea.” You’re not striving for more. Needing to acquire. Desperate for better. Your contentment is profoundly like Heaven.
You remind me of Heaven because of your kindness.
You thrive on connections. It’s essential that you hand the Costco receipt to the employee at the door so they will engage with you personally. You never miss a chance to wave at the trash truck, to tell a stranger a story about our dog, or to help a new friend who fell down at the playground. In fact, you’ll go out of your way to engage people face to face. To smile at them. And most importantly, to get them to smile back at you. Your kindness is immeasurably like Heaven.
You remind me of Heaven because of your boldness.
You don’t shy away or question your value. You’re not unsure of your worth, worrying about what others think about you. Your confidence is not misplaced because you see the world as a place of safety and comfort, friendship and fun. You don’t carry the fears I do—the valid ones and the more far-fetched, or even, ridiculous ones. You’re secure in every interaction because you’ve never been met with rejection or cruelty. You see the world in the way I long to see it. Your boldness is deeply like Heaven.
You remind me of Heaven because when I’m not with you, I miss you. I’ll catch myself pointing out an airplane just to realize you’re not in the car with me, and I’ll wish you were. I can’t wait to pick you up from school. Your nearness is my joy. I can’t imagine my life without you in it or even a day without you. Your presence is incredibly like Heaven.
Now listen, you don’t always remind me of Heaven. You are a toddler after all. You have a lot to learn about sharing and obeying and putting others first, about patience and grace. You’ve had very little practice in forgiveness. You’ve tasted anger and succumbed to its grip.
But the way you remind me of Heaven the most is how I can’t even describe how much I love you.
There are no words available in our language that come close. It’s an amount that supersedes the capacity I’d always thought was a limitation. When I look at you, I think of how there’s nothing more precious in my life, nothing I wouldn’t lay down and walk away from if it meant I could continue to love you with everything in me. Yes, I’d lay down my life to preserve yours.
My love for you is indescribable, above anything I’m capable of in my own power. It’s indescribable like Heaven.