Today is Ash Wednesday. I always do Lent "wrong," meaning that I give up food and treats, self-sacrificing for the good of my body/health. Sort of like New Year's resolutions with Hell and Damnation lurking in the background.
Lent should be about spiritual reflection and making a sacrifice that will also somehow benefit someone else--like, give up going out to eat, but donate all the money you would have spent. I somehow never seem to attach that second part of the commitment.
My conceptualization of giving up of food items originated with my dad, who always gave up food stuffs for Lent when I was growing up. Sweets often was the sacrifice of choice. One year, he gave up milk (not dairy, but like glasses of milk). I remember thinking that milk is a healthy thing, but I now understand that overindulging in even healthy things can be an issue. And he did love milk. For me, as a child, it would have been orange juice. I could (and can) down that stuff in half-gallon sittings.
But I digress. For me, Lent has always been about giving up something you LOVE, and that is almost unquestionably food.
This year is not really different, unfortunately. I'm giving up eating after dinner, a major "problem time" for my eating habits. And I'm recommitting to tracking at least 5 days a week.
But I'm making some spiritual Lenten promises as well. I'm promising to pray, somehow, in some capacity, every day. I like the idea of praying--again, somehow I never seem to actually do it. I THINK about praying. I would be calmer, I believe, if I actually spoke to someone in the Great Beyond.
I'm also striving to stop saying the Lord's name in vain. I say "Oh my Go*" constantly, mindlessly. It's like a nervous tic, an automatic reaction to pretty much every emotion--surprise, outrage, frustration, happiness, excitement, disbelief.
But now I have a toddler. A talking one.
A few nights ago, Munch was doing his typical mad kicking when I was trying to change his diaper. I grabbed his ankles and muttered, "Oh my Go*." Munch looked at me and parroted, "Oh my Go*." Not crystal clear. But close enough.
I swear a lot. Or, rather, I EXCLAIM a lot. I'm an exclaimer. Many of my go-to words need altering now that I have a kid whose language is developing to the point of repetition and learning from what Mommy says. Swearing notwithstanding (I do swear a lot), other common words in my repertoire are CRAP and SHUT UP. Shut up usually in the "joshing" sense with Hubs--like he teases me and I say, "Shut up!" Sort of a Mean Girls usage. I would never tell him to shut up in earnest. However, it's still not a phrase I want to teach my kid to say (that was one of the banned phrases in our home growing up).
But saying the Lord's name in vain--this is certainly something I don't want my son someday screaming throughout the playground. I need to replace it with something. Oh my gosh just isn't going to do it. It doesn't have the same heft as invoking the Supreme Being of the Universe.