There’s been a lot of talk about death at our place lately. At first I blamed the pseudo-recent demise of Hunter (Uncle Curt’s beloved doggy), but after chatting with other moms of four year-olds, I suspect there’s something developmental at play. Here are a few sample conversations:

Vivi: “Happy Birthday, Mimi!”

Mimi: “Thank you!”

Vivi: “How old are you?”

Mimi: “67.”

Vivi: “Wow, Mimi! You are lucky you aren’t dead yet!”


Vivi: “Hey Mommy, I’m going to eat lots of broccoli and run around the house.”

Me: “Um, okay.”

Vivi: “Because I don’t want to be dead Mommy. If I eat healthy things and exercise I’ll get to die later.”

Me: “Righto.”


Vivi (at a high volume, pointing at a middle-aged woman in the grocery store): “Mommy! Mommy! She’s going to die before you die.”

Me (rapidly turning the cart and heading in the opposite direction): “Sure, sweetie, let’s go look at the pies.”

Vivi: “No, Mommy. She’s going to DIE. She’s going to DIE before you DIE. Because you were born second, Mommy. She was born first so she will die SOON.”


Vivi (whispering sweet nothings to her baby doll): “You’re such a teeny little tiny little thing. Yes you are! Yes you are! Unfortunately, teeny tiny, I’m going to die. Everyone dies. Look at your cutie little cheeks. Cutie little cutie.”


Vivi: “Mommy, your grandpa died. He died of cancer. Because you get cancer when you’re old. And when you have cancer, you don’t eat healthy and you can’t exercise.”

Me: “Close, but no” (followed by an explanation that attempted to explain faultless illness without utterly terrifying her with the notion of random and ageless death).


Viv doesn’t seem at all disturbed, just eager to nail down the details. For my comfort level with all this death talk, however, we’ve introduced the concept of heaven. I’m less surprised by Vivi’s idea of the perfect existence, and more by the degree of overlap between hers and mine. Here are a few of her declarations that had me nodding along in agreement:

  • “In heaven everything at Target is free and you can just fill a basket with as many things as you want and walk out of the store.”
  • “Lollipops and syrup don’t make your hands sticky in heaven.”
  • “In heaven you get to just eat and eat and eat and not worry about getting a tummyache.” (Okay, for me, swap “a tummyache” with “fat.”)
  • “In heaven raspberries go on sale all the time like melon.”
  • “When I go to heaven I won’t have to see anyone I don’t like, and I’m going to get to see all the people I like, and also people who are already dead but probably were nice like Teddy Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, and Sacajawea.” (I’d modify the guest list a wee bit, but I’m totally digging the vision.)
  • “In heaven you don’t have to sleep for your body to feel happy tomorrow.”

More than anything, her musings on heaven make me realize how good our family has it. There aren’t many big changes listed up there. Just icing on the cake. And under our rules, we can swing by the heaven CityTarget and get free, zero-calorie icing on the cake. Divine.

3 thoughts on “Heavenly

  1. Loved this Gail!! Brings back so many memories … love that Vivi girl!!! And wishing you a big happy birthday tomorrow!!!

  2. It’s amazing how long we’ve had children saying wildly inappropriate things on this planet, and how d**ned hilarious it is, every single time.
    looking forward to the next installment (and, of course, my death, which will come sooner than yours, especially if I continue eating this high-fat dessert)

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