Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent and diet coke

Today we spent some of our school time talking about Lent. I did my best to explain what Lent is (this is what a bad Catholic parent I am, that I have to explain this to him at age 7), and he grasped it quite well. Of his own volition, he decided to give up candy for Lent. I was pretty impressed. I had explained how it was traditional to give up something we love until Lent, sort of like fasting - a little sacrifice to remind us of the big sacrifice of Jesus. That really resonated with him and he very solomnly declared he would not eat "even one single bite of candy AT ALL," until Easter. We'll see how he holds out with that one. I'm not sure whether to really make him stick to it if push comes to shove, but I'll encourage it. I do want it to remain his choice.

Of course, the next question on his mind was, "What are you giving up for Lent, Mom?" Oh shoot. Yes, I should probably be the one setting the example, shouldn't it? I had been mulling it over for a few days (yes, still undecided on the morn of Ash Wednesday), but inside I knew what I should give up. I typically try to give up something that I feel is enacting too strong of a pull on my life at the time. One year I gave up TV. Another year it was Facebook. This year the answer was easy, I just didn't really want to do it.

Diet coke.

Yes, I am a hopeless (well, maybe not entirely hopeless) diet coke addict. I'm telling you, that stuff has more addictive value than just the caffiene. I have had plenty of caffeine today (I was drinking black tea until this afternoon), and boy was I grumpy. I warded off the worst of the caffeine headache with the tea, but I still did not feel right this afternoon. My head still hurt and I was extremely annoyed at how much I wanted that fizzy fix. I am so glad I never started smoking - I'd probably never be able to quit.

Despite my annoyance at the addiction, it has never been enough to get me to quit drinking it entirely. It is difficult because my husband (who I completely blame for my present diet coke junkie state) is worse than I am. He drinks little else lately - which is terrible, I'm sure, but trust me, that man is not the type to be nagged into changing his habits. (And thank goodness HE never started smoking - oh man).

So Lent seemed like the perfect time to put aside the ridiculous addiction I have to diet coke. I figure being headachey and annoyed for a few days is probably good for me right now. Every time I think about how much I want a can of the darned stuff, I can think of why I'm doing this - to focus more on my faith during this time of preparation and to offer this teeny, tiny, insignificant sacrifice to the Lord.

It is funny how my son brought it out and will keep me honest. The last thing I'm going to do is drink a diet coke now, since I told him I wouldn't. I sure grumbled to myself about that this afternoon, but in a day or so I'm sure I'll feel normal again - probably better.

In the meantime, someone pass me a latte!

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