Something we are doing this Lent is cutting out extraneous sugar from the family diet. (Why? Not to lose weight. I’m the only chubby member of the family, and I don’t eat all that much junk food. But we’ve noticed that some of the castle residents tend to be more emotionally volatile when they are living from snack to snack, and thought that peace in the home was worth attempting.)
There’s not a hard-and-fast rule to that resolution, but there are some obvious changes. Don’t stop for donuts as a way of rewarding the kids for meritorious behavior, for example. One of the chief challenges is that the children are all enthusiastic chefs, and several of them specialize in variations on pastry chef.
Therefore I had to confiscate the sugar.
If I didn’t, they’d go on quietly creating delectable baked goods whenever the parents weren’t looking. They might not even do it out of defiance — it’s just a habit. So I took the sugar canisters from the open shelves in the kitchen and stowed them in a laundry basket in the parents’ bedroom (double Lent: that room is already cluttered enough without adding “pantry” to its list of responsibilities).
Next I had to take the chocolate chips. Mid-morning Ash Wednesday I find a child happily creating chocolate candies. “They aren’t for today!” she chided me solemnly. How dare I question her penitence, sheesh? So I added the canister of open chocolate chips to the laundry basket, and later found the resupply of chocolate chips* in the laundry room cabinets and put those in the basket too, because otherwise children would take the initiative to fix the Lenten inventory problem in the kitchen.
So now in my bedroom I’ve got a basket full of sugar and chocolate chips — really good chocolate chips, not those sorry ones that are mostly corn syrup. Really, really, good chocolate chips. In my bedroom. Staring at me as I walk in after dropping a child off for an internship, on a Friday morning when I’m pretty hungry and trying to be virtuous but have not had breakfast, and did I mention they are really, really, good chocolate chips?
So thank goodness not-my-truck needed an oil change and so I had to switch vehicles with the spouse so I could take care of that this afternoon, and therefore I had to empty my junk out of the truck before he went to work, and that meant, as I was being reined in by the siren song of especially, wondrously, notoriously good chocolate chips, that I had a raincoat slung over my arm. I was going to hang up the raincoat in the closet, since it’s a sunny day and I thought I wouldn’t be needing it.
But you know what needs a raincoat on it? A basket full of chocolate chips. And then I don’t have to look at temptation, glowing in the rays of springtime — Lenten — sunshine every time I go to my room.
Thank you, raincoat. Thank you, oil change. No thank you, chocolate chips.
Photo via Wikimedia [Public Domain].
*The reason I have an inventory of chocolate chips is because we prefer, when possible, to acquire them from Equal Exchange or some similarly reputable source. Since we live in the South, we can only mail-order chocolate during the cold months. It’s practically pioneer living, you know.