Miles run yesterday: 6
Temperature outside, with rain (my least favorite weather): 36
Bags of Cadbury’s Mini-Eggs almost gone: 1
Lent has the distinction of falling across another season: race season.
Two years ago, I was training and running my first marathon. Last year, I ran another half-marathon.
But also, there was the annual giving up of something, a skill set I am not entirely equipped to handle. And I was very, very hungry.
The year I trained for the marathon, I kept waking up in the middle of the night wanting to eat something; my stomach felt cavernous at least 23 hours a day.
One year, I gave up wine. (Not advisable.)
The next couple of years, the kids and I gave up chocolate. My kids were even more rigid than I was (“Hmmm. I’m pretty sure hot chocolate is in liquid form, which may not count.” “Mo-om!”) We were not very nice people during those days. And people kept offering us chocolate.
So this year, my kids put their feet down. Been there, done that.
They decided to add something instead of taking it away, which I find much easier. Much easier.
Each week, they are writing old-fashioned, handwritten, snail-mail letters.
My daughter whips several out in about 15 minutes.
My son sits at the table with a pen and stares at the paper. “What can I write about?”
My daughter starts listing: “The Y pool, middle school, the movie we watched, how we’re excited about summer camp, the book we’re reading…”
“Okay, okay!” My son leans over the paper and laboriously writes two sentences. “Now what?”
Last Saturday morning, I looked over my daughter’s letters. One to a friend in the neighborhood right next to ours said, “Hey, do you want to come over and play on Sunday?”
I looked over at my daughter. “Um. You do know that Monday is a federal holiday, and the mail won’t run, so your friend won’t even get this until at least Tuesday, right?”
Expression: horrified. “What? I’m putting it in the mail today.”
“Right. And… well, it’s not like email. It doesn’t get there the second you close the mailbox door. There’s like… travel and processing time.”
Disbelief. Sighs. Stomping. Re-writing.
And then, as I beg the Saturday mail carrier to stop at the corner of our road because our letters aren’t ready, my own disbelief: my daughter does not know how to address an envelope.
The address: written across the top of the envelope, no name, just an address. Barely room for a stamp. We had to send it sans name because the mail carrier was experiencing his own disbelief: Dude, is this really a matter of national significance? Just give me the mail, and let’s call it a day.
Her friend’s family received the letter and wondered, “Why, it’s a mystery! A letter for our house!”
And when her friend got the letter, she told her mom, “I got a real letter, through the mail, handwritten and everything! I want to do that, too!”
Sometimes things work out the way you think they will, sometimes things happen that you don’t expect.
I thought the letter-writing would be a feel-good, easy-to-accomplish Lenten activity. But it turns out, it may be almost as difficult as giving up chocolate.