What should have taken about 20 minutes quickly stretched into an hour. The chance to run freely through a dimly light church sanctuary was irresistible, and the task at hand, selecting a gift tag from the altar tree, was sidelined en lieu of exploration.
Mary was immensely curious about all the candles, and the statue of Mary (THE Mary, not my small one) looming over the candle lighting area. We lit a candle and I explained about remembering those who have died, and saying a prayer. For my grandmother, a very old soul Catholic, the Virgin Mary was the mother of all and the one to whom you appealed for help in any situation. My Mary nodded, very focused and interested.
Mary knelt down on the prayer desk and I stepped away, over to the tree but still in hearing distance of her quiet, church appropriate, voice. She blessed herself, "Father, Son, Holy Spirit, amen" crossing her chest from right to left.
"Hello Mary, this is Mary. For Christmas, could Mimi and Grandaddy come back from heaven, just maybe for the day? That would make my mom really happy. Thank you".
She stood quietly, blessed herself again, and then promptly threw one small leg over the top of the kneeler. Wiggling furiously she managed to get her entire body on top before I could grab her and pull her away from landing on row after row of lit candles. I said my own blessing, for this child, for her kindness and her spirit; and for the circle of life that brought her to me. Merry Christmas Mary, Merry Christmas Me.