This is my Lenten penance for the year. I just finished reading Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn. An exciting read, at least it gets exciting about halfway through. I had to drag myself through the first few chapters because I am so not a science fiction fan. Our kids are definitely a mesh of their dad and me — he loves science fiction shows/movies, but books? Not so much (that’s why he gets Catholic audiobooks for Christmas and his birthday 🙂 ). I love books, period, but not the science fiction kind. Our kids are fans of both. And they have this nasty habit of devouring books way too quickly for Mom to ever catch up. We were bound to hit a snag somewhere and we did, as they outgrew the books and booklists that I painstakingly handpicked for them… yes, I’m still whining about it. Oh, they’ll read a Chesterton here and there, and Tolkien, and saint and knight books will always hold their attention, but I’m afraid they’ve developed their own tastes and have gone way beyond “true, good and beautiful”. And I thought somewhere along the line they’d rub off on me and I would develop a liking for this particular genre, but I’m afraid it just isn’t in my
jeans genes. Me being the conscientious Mom that I am (LOL), I finally asked beggedbribed commanded threatened offered the option that I would pre-read the books, but you know how that goes. They give me their list, I put it off, put it off, and put it off again. Months later they try to sneak the books into the house from the library and I throw a fit and back they go to the library, or they get GROUNDED from the library, or I demand that they leave the books on my bedside table, where they gather dust and cobwebs…. and then the $20 overdue bill comes from the library. And then the cycle begins all over again.
But! NOT THIS LENT. This Lent, as part of my penitence, I am once more becoming THE INVOLVED MOM, and getting into the things that my children are into. I have 4 science fiction books on my bedside table, besides my Liturgy of the Hours and The Weight of Glory (hah! I’ll read any CS Lewis you hand me but PLEASE don’t make me read Perelandra again!!!) and my very Filipino Pasyon. AND I just requested 3 more science fiction books from the library. All for my boys.
It certainly is a Lent that’s looking very different from previous Lents. Last year, I didn’t get off Facebook because that’s where I primarily communicate with our pro-life group. But I desperately needed the break this year. Not from them, not from the pro-life stuff (although everybody needs a little time away from all that, every now and then at least). I needed a break because I needed to reconnect with my boys, on a different level, this year. At 15 and 13, they’re not getting any younger (no, neither am I), and too often my mom’s words echo in my ears — “Those teen years, they go…. just like that! In the blink of an eye, they become men.” While I fully trust their dad to shepherd them from this icky tricky stage all the way to manhood, I cannot stand by and be the half-hearted mom that I am, at least some days. I’m so not a scout mom, and I’m so not a science fiction mom, and I’m so not a video game mom. And this Lent I’d like to just be a bit more of all of those things. All for my boys.
Lent looks different from home to home and from person to person. It’s hard sometimes to make people understand this, that we don’t all have the same spiritual needs. But we do. My 20-year-old this week was talking about the spiritual works of mercy and how her work this week was “counsel the ignorant”. I don’t have her circumstances. So while I can help her with facts and figures to strengthen her arguments and add a bit to her confidence, I can’t fight this fight for her — not that she needs me to anyway. And I can’t fight the demons my 15-year-old is fighting as he makes his Consecration this Lenten season. It hit me like a bolt of lightning the other day as I was mulling over his attitude the past couple of days and WHY, OH WHY it’s the first few days of Lent and we’re already on our 3rd argument… ARGH. But OF COURSE! It’s Lent. And we both have Lenten resolutions that while not being too lofty are quite formidable, because we do take Lent seriously, especially this year when we have SO MUCH that we are praying for (hint: do the letters HHS mean anything to you?). And the 13-yo — this is his confirmation year, and so I see him struggling over choices and challenges and I see him trying so hard to beat down some of those childish attitudes and habits that had unfortunately taken hold of him in the past, and I want to be there, more than I’ve ever been. All for my boys. (I haven’t forgotten my girls either, but then Mom and girls have a way of reconnecting over something as simple as a hand-hold or a pat. :))
And so I sign off, a little more encouraged, especially tonight when I just met a lovely mom and daughter who was part of one of the local Catholic homeschooling groups! The daughter wears — blessing of blessings — sacrifice beads on her wrist. You just don’t know how that makes me feel, as a mom…. knowing that my child has someone she can hang around who UNDERSTANDS and KNOWS how important this season is to her. My boys are fortunate too in this respect. They have young men their age, and those young men’s fathers, and of course my own dear hubby who’s the best dad ever. God is good to us, and I know this season is going to be truly fruitful. In more ways than one, it already is.