"Grandma, my birthday is coming in a few weeks."
"That's true, Tyler. Your birthday is the next one in this family, and you will be four. Do you know what you might like to have for your birthday?"
"Well, I'll be big, so I'm ready for big kid stuff. I'm thinking a skateboard."
(His mother is not leaning toward a skateboard. A bike is open for discussion, perhaps. With training wheels.)
"Daddy doesn't get to do birthdays anymore, Grandma."
"Oh, I bet he does, actually. Maybe they celebrate a whole different kind of birthday in heaven."
"But Daddy didn't get to do Christmas."
Tyler has a way of slouching himself into a deep slump to reflect his emotions. His entire body reflects his every thought, and he leaned into the sadness of remembering.
"Oh, yes he did!" Grandma explained. "See, God invented Christmas, so it's even better in heaven. Daddy had a wonderful Christmas. I'm sure of it."
"I miss him. I wish he would come back."
"I'm sure you do, Tyler. I miss him too. And when you're an old man, when you're a grandpa, you'll get to go to heaven to see Daddy. And he'll smile as soon as he sees you, and he'll know you. He'll say, 'Oh, there's my Tyler!'"
In a flash, Tyler's face burst with a smile. He said, "And will he throw me up in the air and spin me around, again and again?"
"I bet he sure will, Tyler. I bet he sure will."
I'm not sure how it works in heaven, how old Tyler will be in heaven after he has lived his life here. But I'm confident Robb will know his sons. And I'm pretty sure, if I know Robb at all, he'll scoop them up and toss them in the air.
Again and again.