I hate Lent blog posts.
For no good reason, except for the fact that they drive me crazy.
There are just WAY too many of them, filled with WAY too much advice.
And I end up getting all anxious.
Because I'm really not very good at Lent, at least in the way most "serious" Catholics think you should be good at Lent.
Because I am basically a wimpy candy-ass.
But, here I am, writing Lent blog post.
When I was a little girl, I really loved Lent.
I went to Catholic school and we went to church and got ashes on Ash Wednesday. Which was really fun, because afterwards, all us kids would compare ash marks. We would talk about which priests gave the best ones and which priests got the ashes in your eyes and whose looked the most like crosses and whose would last the longest. Us kids would also talk all about what we were giving up for Lent. Some of us gave up chocolate and some of us gave up chewing gum and some of us gave up swearing and some of us gave up our favorite TV show. I never gave up my favorite TV show, because for most of my childhood, it was "Emergency." And there was no friggin' way I was giving up "Emergency" for Lent. I usually gave up chocolate. On Fridays, all us Catholic school kids would compare lunches and see what meatless items our mothers has packed away for us. Most of the kids had the usual -- peanut butter and jelly on Wonder Bread and tuna on wheat. But, my mother, being who she was, would often pack such sandwich delicacies as deviled egg mixed with chopped olive or deviled egg mixed with canned shrimp. These creations would inevitably result in various expressions of disgust from my Catholic school confreres, which greatly pleased me, because I have always been such a rebel contrarian. (I learned to be a rebel contrarian in Catholic school, because I was picked on a lot in these institutions, and it was either that or knuckle under to the bullies. And I was not one to knuckle under to the bullies.)
Lent was also a lot of fun in my house. Spring was coming on and my dad would beautify the yard with his Italian gardening skills. He would spruce up the house by scrubbing various dirty items -- like the stove and the barbecue -- and perhaps applying some paint. My dad was a kick-ass cleaning person. So was my mom. And they knew how to make our house shine. Perhaps they were a bit over-the-top in their cleaning enthusiasm, but I enjoyed the results. And on the Fridays of Lent, my mom would cook the most amazing fried fish dinners. She would pick us up from school and we would go by the fish market on the way home. Yes, there was an actual fish market in our town. You don't see many of those these days. My mom would purchase filet of soul and oysters, which she would coat in a batter of flour and egg, frying them in her electric fry pan. This wonderful fish would be served with tartar sauce she made herself and lemon wedges. The sides would be fresh asparagus or artichokes, homemade mashed potatoes, and sourdough bread. It was amazing. To be honest, though, I couldn't stand the oysters. But, I loved the filet of sole. And since my parents both loved the oysters, and never forced them upon my sisters and me, all was well and happy.
Now, some of you may think that all of this doesn't sound very sacrificial and suffering-inducing. And it probably wasn't. And I think that's one of the reasons I grew up to love Jesus so much. I always had very positive associations with Jesus and being Catholic and Lent. Jesus was AWESOME and being Catholic was AWESOME and Lent was AWESOME! In my childhood, anyway.
So, what am I giving up for Lent this year?
Lent blog posts.
And I am resolving to remember the Lents of my childhood -- full of family and fun and love and good food.