Joey's 9th birthday - July 2009

Today is Joey's 9th Birthday. And, as you might guess, I spent today celebrating him. But, I wasn't only thinking of Joey today, my thoughts also drifted up to Heaven. I couldn't help but think of Grandpa Flaherty today. NO ONE loved a birthday more than Grandpa Flaherty. One per year wasn't enough for him. In fact, he had a habit of frequently pretending that it was his birthday at restaurants. This practice almost ALWAYS earned him a free dessert. He celebrated MANY "birthdays" this way with waiters singing and candles glowing out of his completely complimentary treat. And, while I know he had a sweet tooth, I'm not sure if he enjoyed the dessert or the song more. As children, we feared his rendition of "HAAAPPPPYY" Birthday. As adults, we imitate it. If a baby cries while singing, then, you know you got it JUST right.   

My thoughts went up to Heaven today as well for all the other children who were not able to celebrate their 9th birthdays. I am mindful of all those who began the journey alongside Joey and ended it too soon before him. I wonder what their Heaven is like? 

My 93 year old grandma often tries to imagine Heaven. She pictures it much like a birthday if you ask me. She said that she imagines beautiful music and our Lord on a golden throne. Sounds like a celebration, doesn't it?  Joey shared this fun view of Paradise with me on a recent flight we took. He was gazing out at the clouds and he said, "I wish I could bounce on the clouds.  I'm gonna do that in Heaven. That would be so bounce on the clouds!" 

There was a time when those words would have been impossible for me to ponder. Now, five years later, I can celebrate the Heaven God has given me on earth. I celebrate my children, Joey AND Gina. There is a reason that children live in the present.  They can see the gift in each day. Today, we celebrated Grandpa Flaherty style. We went out to dinner. And, guess who got the free dessert? 

Happy Birthday, Joey.  You are my Heaven on Earth.   


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