Give it up for the Torture of It

Even though my husband and I were both raised Catholic in the same small town, neither of us likes to go to church.  So when my daughter was born we got as far as having her baptized, and that was it.  No catechism classes, no first communion, no Confirmation.

At first Molly seemed thrilled with not having to go to church on Sundays.  She could stay home and watch Sponge Bob since TV is forbidden on school days.  But that was then.  Now she’s 14 and re-evaluating everything we have done for her (read TO her) in the last decade.  Living a fairly cushy life by nearly anyone’s standards, she really has to scavenge for something to guilt trip us about.  So she chose a small thing like religion.

It is not that she now wants to go to church, she wants to feel a part of something she knows nothing about.  I get that, but every time I offer to take her to church she balks and says no.  So, to give her the feeling of church, I take her to St. Mary’s of the Angels off Armitage in Chicago.  There we say a prayer, light a candle for someone, and sit in the hush and look up.

Now that Easter is rolling around Molly wanted to give up something for Lent.  First it was chocolate, of course, the root of all evil.  Then I got on board and upped the ante by giving up all sweets: chocolate, cookies, cake, pudding, candy (except gum), anything with sugar in it.  In case you were wondering, it is really hard to do that, at least for us.  We are sort of addicted to sugar in this household, mainly because I like to bake (and mostly for the batter).

So it has been five weeks with no sugar.  Hell in other words.  I have never successfully given up anything for Lent before.  I am doing well by my previous record of two days set in 5th grade.  Molly caved a long time ago with frozen yogurt, insisting it is not a sweet if you have it with fruit on top instead of brownie bites.  I wondered if I made the project too hard by insisting on giving up all sweets, but we were trying to lose weight too. Double whammy.

As I count down the last few days, I think about what I’ll eat first.  A thick, egg-shaped sugar cookie?  A foil-wrapped egg?  A line of Peeps?  Ah, the choices are almost endless.  Molly has already indicated what kind of chocolate bunny she wants:- milk, not dark, what color Peeps she prefers: blue, not yellow, and what kind of chocolate eggs she likes:  Reese’s, the big ones.  And she’d like a new shirt too, in case the bunny was wondering.

At least now Molly knows how hard it is to give up something that you really love, even though I don’t think she needs to be penitent for anything.  And I know I can actually give up sugar.  Next year I should try giving up wine.   Mon Dieu!

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7 Responses to Give it up for the Torture of It

  1. Kit B says:

    I gave up all alcohol for Lent this year, with absolute success. (For the record, it’s MUCH easier than giving up sugary treats, though I guess that probably defeats the whole point of giving it up….drats)

    • Mimi says:

      I am slowly weaning myself off of wine. IN fact I have six bottles on the counter which have not been touched – yet.

      • My own kids made it through first communion, but church stopped there — just about the time of the pedophile priest scandals. I taught them what I saw as the fundamentals of living a good life, but I wish we had continued at some church or another as well. As it is, my son attends his church regularly while my daughter questions the existence of God.

  2. Jim says:

    You must feel good about it. The sence of taking control and making a change. It could give you the feeling that you could take on anything.

  3. declanwhite says:

    Larkin, the English poet, wrote a lovely poem on a church. I have written an article on one in my new blog! It’s not religious or spiritual.. Neither is Larkin’s poem.

  4. ebroihier says:

    As you know, when I was no longer required by our mother to attend mass, I didn’t. It always bored me intensely, and I never felt comfortable expressing my own spirituality, whatever I might have, in a public setting. My kids never attended any church, although they did go to a parochial day-care for a couple of years where they learned a little about praying and Jesus — just enough to result in some very funny moments when they were 4 and 5. Now that they’re adults, they’ve told me they never felt they missed anything because of my lack of interest in organized religion, so that’s a relief — no guilt-trip for me!

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