That baby died. At seven weeks gestation in utero. As part of the grieving process, the baby was named Mara.
Last week, I crashed my car into a deer. As I talked with my oldest about the power of guardian angels and how an impact with a compact car and a buck could have been completely catastrophic, she said something that stopped me in my tracks, "Well, if we had died, I would have gotten to meet Mara."
She thinks about the missing sister. It is ever-present in her mind that her whole family does not live with her here on earth. And with the faith of a child, she understands that we're on our journey home to be with Mara.
Maybe we're having a hard time with long division, but if she keeps her eyes on Heaven, I'm counting this parenting thing as a win.
My girls will never all be together completely until Heaven, but on the day of L's first communion, we talked about the communion of saints - and what that meant for her family.
Mara is a holy innocent, sitting at the foot of Jesus. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, that's the closest we get to Heaven here.
In that moment, I say hello to her.
When L received her first holy communion, I told her, "say hello to your sister."
With tears in her eyes, she turned from her reception and I knew she had.
In the years since, we've talked about it occasionally, but as we approach what would have been a birthday, I'm struck all over again by the grace I find in the communion of saints. United in prayer, and for that moment of Communion, both sitting together with Jesus.