"Mommy!" Meghan shouted from the back seat of the mini-van. We were on our way home from dinner. It was just the girls and me, and they were firing off the usual round of questions and what-if scenarios at me.
"Yes Megs. What is up?"
"Is Bubeez (our former cat) up in Heaven?"
"Yes. Yes, he is." I replied.
"Mom, when I'm 100, I'm gonna go to Heaven."
"Okay Megs. I'll already be there, and when you come, I'm going to come running to see you. I will have missed you so much, and will be so happy to see you again."
"Why Momma? Why will you miss me?"
"Well, you remember that Mommy would like it very much if you live a nice long life before you go to Heaven?"
"Uh huh, Mama."
"And when you get to be an old lady, God will call you home back to Heaven. I'll be there already waiting for you. I'm older than you so that means I'll go to Heaven first."
"When we go to Heaven, we can't talk to or be with the people who are still alive on Earth. We have to wait until you come to Heaven. So since I want you to have a nice long life and become an old lady with lots of grandchildren, I would have to wait a long time before you come to see me again. So, I would miss you a lot until I get to see you again."
Gracie added, "We used to be in Heaven, Mom. When God was ready, he put us in your tummy to grow. Before then, we lived in Heaven."
"Yes Grace. The part of us that thinks and feels and knows our name is Gracie goes to Heaven. That is called your soul. When we die, our soul leaves our body and goes back up to Heaven."
"Mom, wouldn't it be neat if our souls could go back and be babies again?"
"Yes Grace, that is a very interesting idea. Actually, there are a lot of people who believe in something called recycling of the soul. Well really, it is called a big word, which is reincarnation."
"Reincarnation, Grace. It is like recycling. When you are born into your body, your soul learns a lot of lessons in each life you live. If you don't learn all of the good things you are supposed to learn, your soul gets recycled. This helps your soul learn all of the lessons it needs to learn."
"Mom, that would be a great idea. I think it would be boring to sit around in Heaven all the time. I get bored when we are home too much. I think I'd like to be recycled when I get up to Heaven, but I'd want to stay for a visit though. Heaven is the best thing ever, you know."
"Yes Grace. It is. I'm so happy you are learning about other ideas for how our world works. As you grow up, you can decide which ideas you like the best."
"Mom, I like recycling. I pick that one."
"Ok, Grace. You can pick whatever you want. I like that you are learning about all the ideas people believe in when we die, live our life, and then go to Heaven."