My 3-year-old niece was visiting, and we were outside in the grass inspecting bugs. Normally, I wouldn't be caught dead inspecting bugs, but when Kate looked at me with those ocean-blue eyes and said, "Yet's go yook at bugs, Aunt Bicki," I was toast. So, we were observing all the wildlife that lives in my backyard, heretofore thankfully unbeknownst to me. To avoid actually having to look at a bug, I was marveling at how Kate's small body was able to crouch so comfortably for such a long time. She simply bent her knees and seemed to sit on the backs of her heels, and could stay like that for hours. Amazing. If I tried to do that, both knees would instantly break, and I'd never stand up again in life.
While looking at bugs, we saw an ant that was dead. This didn't bother me, really, I've faced death before and survived. Besides, to me the best ant is a dead ant, especially if it's anywhere near my personal body. But, Kate looked up at me and said solemnly, "It's dead." (The child is a genius, which she unquestionably inherited from me.) I nodded, and she continued, patting my hand gently, "Don't worry, Aunt Bicki, it's in bug heaven now." Surprised, I asked her, "Really? What's in bug heaven?"
"Oh, yots and yots of other bugs, and yots of honey and fyowers and sugar," her ocean-blue eyes danced merrily. "And picnics! So the ants can have ah the chocyate cake they want," and she smiled happily and got on with her life.
I, however, began to think about what would I like in my own heaven. At first, it seemed a simple list, but it grew. I now believe I might be a very high-maintenance angel.
First, I want everything the bugs have, lots of honey, flowers, sugar, and chocolate cake. I want Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, and Dove hot fudge topping, and spaghetti and meatballs, and coffee ice cream. And, I want room service!
I'd like mountains and oceans and my own White House, with a wrap-around porch filled with rocking chairs. I want never to sweat again. Lots of snow. Thunderstorms almost every night, and blue sky and sunshine every day.
I want more babies, delivered with no more trouble than a good sneeze. I want all my dogs with me again. I want my knees to be silent when I climb stairs or get out of a chair. I'll have thick, beautiful brown curls and the same body I had at 17, no matter how much cake I eat. I will be perpetually tanned. I'll play doubles tennis at the Heavenly Branch of Wimbledon with Arthur Ashe, and we'll win, although I'll have to carry him.
I'll look down from my heaven to watch my son, the handsome genius doctor, and my daughter, the beautiful, brilliant model wife and mother, and occasionally they will think things like, "You know, Mom was right. I should not get a motorcycle," or "Mom was so right about disciplining the kids."
I fell asleep, lying in the grass and thinking about my heaven. I only awoke when Kate started filling my nose with little pebbles. Did I mention that my heaven is filled with nannies?