Every evening before bed we all kneel in a semi-circle before a small crucifix and pray for a quiet night, ask each of our patron saints to pray for us and say the Our father, the Hail Mary, and the St. Michael prayer. We used to recite many more prayers, but with the little ones flopping about and two exhausted parents, eager to get children in bed, we have pared our family prayers down to the basics for the time being. Julia Ellen wanders about, first sitting on my lap with her little hands folded just so, with thumbs crossed, and perhaps taking a breather on Will's lap, before clambering up on the big blue armchair, where she flips herself upside down and positions her hands again in prayer. I have learned to close my eyes at this point so I don't start a contagious giggle fit.
Yesterday while waiting for Mary to emerge from her elementary school gym class, I was flipping the radio back and forth between Glen Beck and EWTN. The Catholic station had just started praying the luminous mysteries of the Rosary, so I flipped it back to Beck, but Julia Ellen piped up from the backseat, "Hail Mary, Amen. Hail Mary!" so I quickly switched stations and we spent the next 10 minutes listening and praying along with the radio. Julia Ellen might not assume the most pious pose when we pray, but she does recognize the words and obviously loves praying and going to Mass.