I put Shrove Tuesday in my phone because I had ideas of making something nice for Atticus. I don’t particularly like pancakes but I like ritual and memories and bacon. In my mind, I was being gracious: It’s for Atticus. A holiday for children.
But it turned out that the pancakes were pretty good. Atticus’s excitement was infectious and we laughed as my mom read him a story about pancakes and I guess you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it after all.
I suggested the idea wistfully: Maybe all of us could go to church? Maybe Atticus could even get ashes? Mike said, “Maybe. But you need to keep your expectations low.” Sure thing. Besides, all those Lenten things like repentance and mortality and emptying ourselves are not really for children. It’s an adult thing.
But when we picked Atticus up in the toddler room, he looked from Mike’s forehead to mine and declared that he would like some ashes, too. Mike took some of mine and some of his and made a cross on Atticus’s forehead. I guess you don’t have to be an adult to be able to participate after all.
Mike and I stopped celebrating Valentine’s Day several years ago. I don’t like forced merriment, and I would rather not go out to eat on a night when everyone else is doing the same thing. Don’t tell me how to celebrate love (I have authority issues). Besides, isn’t it a holiday for children? Cards passed out to each classmate with names printed carefully on the envelopes. Pink hearts and Care Bears? Let the kids have their fun. It’s not for me.
But I helped Atticus make cards for his friends and we got him a sweet book and a fun truck and Alisa and I drank tea from pink mugs and a coworker and I coordinated outfits. I guess I had a pretty fun day after all.
What is saving my life this week is the blurring of those lines: what is for me and what is for other people. One of these days I will figure out that the world doesn’t really work like that.
What is saving your life this week?