One of my first memories.

When I was a wee little munchkin (like four or five years old), Dad would sometimes watch The Little Mermaid with me before bedtime because he knew it was my favorite. I remember sitting on his lap and humming along to "Part of Your World" while rocking back and forth in our orange early '90s-style rocker recliner. I was obsessed with Ariel's beautiful red hair and angelic voice, and I wanted so badly to be a mermaid in an underwater world. On many occasions, after the movie had ended, Dad would carry me to my room, tuck me in, and kneel beside my bed to thank the Lord for all of the day's blessings. One particular evening, after our prayers had been said and he was about to go downstairs, I asked him with childlike curiosity what he thought Heaven might be like. A smile instantly spread across his face, and he began by telling me that God knows the deepest desires of His children, and that Heaven is a place where all of our dreams will come true. "Does that mean that I can be a mermaid in Heaven?" I asked with wide eyes, my excitement growing by the second. Dad nodded with just as much enthusiasm, and went on to describe my younger self's idea of complete happiness: a magical kingdom under the sea, with God as (a kinder and gentler version of) King Triton, and all of us as His mer-sons and mer-daughters, blissfully swimming in a clear blue ocean for eternity. It seems a bit silly now, but my little five-year old heart was glowing as I imagined such a place.
Although this may not have been my first memory (or even my second or third), it's definitely on my list of the top ten most cherished. The truth is, I'll never forgot my daddy's reply, so perfect and sweet.