On the way to school this morning Miss Bit and I were chatting about Lent and what we plan to give up. We affirmed what the whole family committed to last night : we will be a soda-free house. Coach is really the only regular soda drinker in the family. I rarely drink soda and the kids only drink it if I buy it. I rarely buy it so this no soda thing is really an act of solidarity. T. Bone pulled the trigger on candy as well despite the fact that he will be seriously tested when he attends 3 bar mitzvahs this month. These parties are known for tempting and elaborate candy buffets so he will have to muster up some major willpower. I suggested Lil Bit add candy to her Lenten list. She's the one with the biggest stash and she's known to be sneaky when her sweet tooth aches. I find wrappers stuffed in pockets and random drawers around the house. She reminds me of her uncle when he was a kid. I reminded her that a sacrifice is not supposed to be easy. To that she asked with a look of horror on her face because she already knew the answer, "How many days is Lent?"
"Forty," I answered.
Her eyes bugged out of their sockets as she quickly did the math..
"I'll do it if you do it," I offered. Candy is not a particular vice for me, but there is strength in numbers.
After a moment of contemplation, she affirmed albeit reluctantly, "I'll do it."
Because I can never just leave well enough alone, I continued, "You know Lent is not just about making sacrifices. It's also about..."
"Doing good. I know it's also about doing good," she finished my thought for me. "There's this odd girl in my class that no one is really friends with. Well, I'm friends with her, but I'm going to work on becoming better friends with her."
"What a great idea," I said swelling with fierce mama pride.
"I'm also gonna just go through each day and try to do good and be nice whenever I can. You know what I mean? Like rare moments of happiness," she continued.
"You mean random acts of kindness?" I asked.
"Yeah! That's what I mean. That's what I'm gonna do," Lil said.
"I'm gonna do that too," I committed.
And I will because I truly believe that the sacrifice, while important, often feels like punishment, and only whets our appetite for that "vice" denied. Adding something positive...being kind, doing good...has a better chance of having a long and lasting effect. I know we'll be devouring marshmallow bunnies and Peeps in 40 days just making up for lost time, or low sugar levels, and I think we'll want to keep the kindness too.
Now just don't ask me to give up wine or cheese.