Monday, April 2, 2012

Lent ’n’ Easter

For the past few weeks, Pastor keeps talking about Lent. As much church as I’ve attended in my half century of earthen wear, I’m still unclear as to what it really is.

Raised by an old banker dad who headed a loan department, I saw Lent as meaning “loaned yesterday,” as in, “I lent those poor borrowers my daughter each summer so I didn’t have to deal with her.” So to me, Lent is more like Passover, as in, “During my childhood, my dad opted to pass over raising me to poor borrowers each summer.” No kidding.

In the old Wisconsin days, my high school buds and I would joke that we were giving up something for Lent. “Yeah, for Lent I’m giving up smoking and liver.” I didn’t smoke, only morons eat liver, and God already knew I wasn’t about to give up the sinful things I enjoyed.

Research break: I just looked up Lent and learned that it consists of the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter and is devoted to fasting, penitence, and abstinence. I’ve fasted most Fridays for years, but if I had to fast for eight weeks I’d look like Gandhi did, all nose. Abstinence—well, if it’s from sex, my Lent began years ago. If it pertains to beer, forget it.

Easter reminds me of my daughter, Ivy. Late on the Saturday night before Easter when she had just turned four, I hopped ’round the house hiding plastic eggs filled with unhealthy stuff like beef, pork, and onions.

To top off this gourmet with creative juices, I took a piece of printer paper, drew two bunny tracks on it, and cut them out. Then I grabbed the baking soda and headed for the stairway.
Laughing to myself at how clever I was, I sprinkled baking soda through the track holes, two paw prints per step. I’ll admit, I was pretty proud of myself. Here was Miss High-tech Businesswoman stooping over stairs at 10:45 p.m., pretending to be a cute little bunny, all for the joy of her little angel.

Easter morning, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, little Ivy rose and began searching for her rotten meat ’n’ onions. (Okay, I hid candy, but that makes me sound like a bad mom.) When she tootled toward the stairway, I was psyched, anxiously awaiting her surprised reaction at seeing bunny tracks. I could almost hear her jubilantly say, “Look, Mommy! The Easter bunny hopped from downstairs!” and be all happy.

Instead, this precocious four-year-old ambled down a few steps, bent down, and closely observed the tracks. She wiped her little hand over the white powder, then rubbed her thumb against her fingers. “Baking soda,” she said. “Why would the Easter bunny walk through baking soda?”

“How do you know that’s baking soda?!” I demanded.

MOMmy,” she replied, as if to say, “Are you really that dumb?”

Sometimes. I suddenly understood penitence. I should have dropped chocolate-covered rabbit turds instead.

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