My kids were all over me on Wednesday because I got all confused when I saw my friends emerging from the parking lot smeared with ashes and actually asked what the hell was going on.
“MOM!” they yelled. “It’s Ash Wednesday, HOW can you not know that?!”
Is that a pathetic lapse for someone who spent the better part of twelve years with burnt palm fronds gracing their forehead one day a year?
Why yes it is.
I used to actually think on what I would be giving up, trying hard to out do my friends and family with something awe-inspiring. I wanted people to talk among themselves about the depth of my sacrifice and how difficult a cross I was bearing.
But after letting the nuns know our intentions for lent (no chocolate, no tv, no video games, being kind to our siblings and helping the poor) we promptly walked out the schoolhouse doors and forgot all about doing without. Fuck giving up chocolate cause the Easter bunny was coming in like forty days so what the hell were we supposed to do? Reject his delicious offering? I , for one, was not going to be angering any type of mythical being who brought me goodies under the cover of darkness. I knew Santa’s elves to be observing and recording behavior problems leading up to December 25th so I suspected the rabbits minions were hopping around doing the same.
As we moved on to high school we used the ashes as an excuse to leave class and goof off. Several more pious students had even stopped at 7 am mass prior to school and gotten their mark of goodness before the school doors even opened.
Years afterward we heard they actually used pot ashes to create the ruse which helped solidify their standing as true legends.
This year I didn’t feel one bit bad about not making false promises to give something up (my kids suggested I give up screaming to which I replied “FUCK NO!”) or neglecting to submit to the mark of the good Catholic (which I am not). I just loaded up the car with kids strapped them in and took off.
Then God got mad at me and struck me blind like Mary from Little House.