“Mum, I think that before people are born, they live in Heaven and they wait until they find the right Mum and Dad to be born to and then when that Mum and Dad decide to have a baby then that person goes from Heaven into the Mummy’s tummy and gets born.”
Little Man said this to me, matter-of-factly, as he sat in bed waiting for me to read him his nightly instalment of Harry Potter. Clearly this wasn’t going to be our usual goodnight routine. I climbed in next to him and he lay on his side with his head in the crook of my arm (perfect position for back tickles) and continued:
“When the baby is in his Mummy’s tummy, he remembers what Heaven was like and that makes him not be scared. Then when he is born, he forgets everything and he starts being a baby… Can you tickle a little more up? Ahhh, you’re a good tickler….”
We adjust our angle, I notice his soft, little boy skin and appreciate this special cuddle time. He won’t always want to cuddle and have his back tickled. I tell him that I think he has some amazing thoughts and that he may just be right, but that I don’t know for sure what happens before we are born. I tell him that I love his version and I hope he is right. He has more to say:
“Mum, I think that when people die, they get recycled.”
I stop tickling, just for a moment. I am taken by surprise that my eight year old son is thinking about such heavy topics. I wonder where this is all coming from. He seems unphased, so I say, “Wow, that’s interesting. Can you tell me why?” He explains:
“Well, you know how, when Bumpa died, you explained that he went to Heaven? I think that the people in Heaven who have died are the same people as the ones who are waiting to be born. I think that maybe after people die, they stay in Heaven and they look down at all the Mums and Dads who want a baby and they wait and wait until they see the right ones and then they go down to the Mum’s tummy and get born again. Do you know why?”
I am dumbfounded. Little Man is eight. He is supposed to be thinking about how to behead his sister’s Barbie dolls or build a new Lego creation. This depth of thought about reincarnation just blows my mind. I ask why. He goes on:
“I think that there are always the same amount of the people who live inside people – know what I mean…the people in Heaven. I know Mums and Dad can make babies, but the person inside the babies can’t be made! Thats why I think that you are in Heaven before you are born and after you die. Because otherwise there would be no space in Heaven for all the people who died and where would all the people who are going to be inside new babies live before they got born?”
Goosebumps now. Has my little boy really sat and thought this out? It makes sense! I don’t even know what to say at this stage, because – in so many ways – Little Man is older and wiser than me.
I tell him that his thoughts are amazingly smart and that he’s given me a lot to think about. He has one final thing to say:
“Mum, you know when you want to do something naughty and there’s a little inside voice that isn’t really a voice but kind of – you know what I mean – and it tells you not to? And also when you want to do something good and that inside voice makes you feel nice inside? I think that’s the person inside you – the one from Heaven – helping you make the right choice. Maybe thats why people get recycled. So they can learn what the right choices are and be more good every time.”
Without a pause, without taking a breath, he nonchalantly changes the subject.
“Mum, lets stop talking now because I don’t want to miss out on Harry Potter. I like Harry Potter. I wish I had magic powers. That would be cool. But I know that’s make-believe and magic doesn’t exist.”
Oh, yes it does, Little Man. Magic just happened right here in your bedroom.
My little boy (who insists on sleeping with nine teddies, a light-sabre and his special soft blanket on his bed) just shared with me the his theory on reincarnation. My little boy (with baby-soft skin, who lives for cuddles) managed to put into words a concept that most adults would struggle to explain. My little boy (who struggles with reading and who has had years of speech therapy to deal with his difficulties in getting thoughts out of his head and into words) has just eloquently explained to me the meaning of life.
Little Man showed me magic, alright. And he didn’t even need a wand.