The great perk of having kids so close in age—mine are only 22 months apart—is that they become close friends and confidants. R and G play together every day, negotiating games, make-believe tales, and the attention of Mom and Dad.
For me, by far, the best part of this closeness is when I overhear their conversations. Sometimes, I stand outside the room when they are playing together, quietly listening in as they chat about their toys or the cartoon they saw that morning. Other times, I’m in the room with them, observing as they take on a topic that’s new or difficult, or more serious than I would have thought appropriate for young kids. And, if I’m lucky, I manage to write down what they say, like this recent conversation, one that ended up being much more profound that I had anticipated:
“We’ll be brother and and sister forever,” G said.
“Even when we are underground,” agreed R.
“Will we see you up there?” they asked me. Startled by the depth of the conversation—how’d we get talking to about death and heaven?—I nodded.
I asked them about Heaven. What did it look like? What would they do there? They weren’t clear on specifics, though they were confident that they would see their grandfathers, who passed away before they were born, there.
“Maybe we’ll be a baby again,” G said. She loves babies; she loves the idea of being a baby.
“Maybe up there we can go backwards and start again,” wondered R, my philosopher.
I told them that some people believe that when you die, you can come back to Earth again as another person or an animal—a bird, a cow, or even a bug. They stared intently throughout my explanation of reincarnation, their little minds considering my words, processing this new idea.
“Do you believe it, Mama?”
Did I say yes? I’m not sure. I love the idea of getting a chance to make next time better, to learn from today. I love the hope that’s inherent in the concept of reincarnation. But I don’t know.
“I believe,” said G, emphatically. “And I’d be a kitty.”
She would, of course, be something cute and independent. And fierce.
Then, as with many kids’ conversations, they were quickly done, moving on to the next thing, leaving me behind to ponder what it all meant.