Will We Be 18 In Heaven?

I’m getting ready for my 18-year-old niece’s graduation party.  I pull a skirt and blouse out of my suitcase.  In Ohio, I’d be trendy.  I’d even be a bit edgy on casual day at the office.

But I’m not in Ohio.  I’m in Vegas. 

Midwest hip has long been out in Vegas.  So I run to my niece and cry, “HELP!”  I don’t want to be a middle-aged aunt tonight.  So she hands me a red dress and I don’t look back.  The dance floor is calling me.

In my sister’s tiny back yard stands a wooden dance floor.  The men came to set it up today in the heat of the Vegas sun.  Nails pounding.  Sweat pouring.  But the sun is down.  The DJ is playing.  And the neighbors (and the police!) have been warned.  It’s not every day that we celebrate a woman coming of age. 

So we dance.

I look around the dance floor and I’m the oldest.  By about 20 years.  At first I feel a little silly (in my niece’s red dress and all) but then I don’t care.  I feel like I’m 18 again.  And it feels good.

My father spots me across the yard and he starts to walk toward me.  He had a bad fall today, and I know he is bleeding.  And hurting.  But his long pants are covering his fresh wounds, and I know he wants to dance.  He wants to feel 18 again too.

We both look at my niece, and she is beautiful.  It is her 18th birthday, and she is the star of this show.  And she loves to dance.  After all, it is in her blood.  So my father takes her hand, and they dance.  Together.

Mind you, he may have had trouble walking today.  But tonight he will dance.  With ease.  

Then my mother – the most beautiful woman alive – takes the dance floor.  She and my father are trying to do the jitter bug to rap music, and I’m laughing so hard that I think I might wet my pants — not a good thing when you are wearing somebody else’s dress.   And I’m reminded that these moments are gift.  These moments when we feel 18 again.

I happen to think we’re all going to be 18 in heaven.  Especially when we’re dancing.

(Kaitlyn at 18!)

I'm an author who writes about the working mom's struggle to live out an authentic Christian faith in a complex and fast-paced world. I live in constant need of grace, caffeine, and technology -- usually in that order.
  • Laura@OutnumberedMom

    What a sweet snapshot of a family celebration! And your sweet mom and dad, jitterbugging. I love it!

  • BigD

    Good for you to let go!
    (And wear an 18YO's dress!!!)

  • Graceful

    This reminds me of the book "Heaven is Real." Have you read it? According to the little boy, everyone he meets in Heaven is a young version of himself.

    I love this portrait of your fun-loving family. Horray for your dad, kicking up his heels despite his pain. And horray for you, able to fit into an 18-year-old's dress.

    Your niece is a beauty.

  • Jennifer @ GettingDownWithJesus.com

    I love that you danced. That you danced on a wooden dance floor in a backyard. That you danced wearing a red dress.

    I don't know if we'll be 18 in Heaven, but I know this: We. Will. Dance.

  • Amy Sullivan

    Your niece is such a beauty!

    Michelle mentioned "Heaven is For Real", I'm such a pessimist, I'm not sure I believed it.

    I like what you said about "Midwest hip"…glad you wore the red dress.

  • Bradley J Moore

    Definitely one of your best posts ever. I think it's my own youth calling, wanting to join you guys out on the dance floor. Heaven will absolutely be a letting loose, a letting go.

  • Susan DiMickele

    Two things have becomes abundantly clear: 1) I need to wear red dresses more; and 2) I need to dance more.

    Thanks for your sweet comments. Kaitlyn is truly a doll. She's going to college in LA and I just know she is going to get "discovered."

  • Laura

    What I want to see a picture of is you in that red dress! Your niece is lovely but so are you (and in red? maybe just a bit wild!) and I love picturing you this way, Susan. Dance the night away!

  • Theresa Miller

    Oh, this is lovely. I love the picture you painted of your family!

    I have a nineteen year old niece now – the oldest of twenty-four nieces and nephews. She is a delight as I'm sure yours is – and a beauty!

  • A Joyful Noise

    In heaven I believe we will all be young – and 18 sounds like a nice age to me. I am happy you could enjoy the celebration in a beautiful and trendy red dress!