Friday, February 22, 2013

One More Thing for Lent

A week and a half or so into Lent, and this penitential thing is hard but definitely do-able. Every year, I try to challenge myself. Some years I can really tell the spiritual benefit, like this year when my addiction to food is becoming very obvious to me. I had to fight not to daydream about doughnuts, ice cream, and bread all through Mass on Sunday. If I'm thinking about food it's getting between me and God, so something needs to change.

Along with the sugar addiction, I've been noticing lately my tendency to turn inward, to myself and my own family, instead of paying attention to the world around us. I started collecting our extras in the house to donate to charity, but it didn't make me interact with other people. I could drop off bags of clothes and never have to acknowledge another human being.

I'm going to continue purging the house, because we could certainly stand to have less stuff, but I thought I'd try adding a new thing every week from now until Easter. I'm not talking about big things, but small ways I can love my neighbor when we are out in public.

This past week I decided to start taking pictures. We live in an area where moms seem to be camera obsessed. (I'll bet you do too.) Smart phones have made taking snapshots of every little thing almost obligatory. Funny thing though, the kids' lives are over-documented...but moms are nearly non-existent in most of the pictures I see. (I'm using Facebook as my measuring stick on that. I look at a lot of FB pictures. If you're my friend, please post more.) Moms are so busy behind the cameras that they aren't in front of them.

I've decided to do what I can to fix that.

I've begun walking up to moms at the park, the zoo, karate class, or wherever we are and offering to take a picture of them with their children. It seems so simple, but it's so huge. I know that my children like the pictures of us much more than the ones of just them. They will linger over the shots of them with their mom in the photos for much longer than the ones which have kids alone.

I've probably taken 20 such pictures this week. (We had a karate belt graduation. Lots of moms there.) Each woman beamed at being allowed to be in the pictures with her family. Not a single one said no. Best of all were the reactions of the kids. "Mom, you look so pretty." "You're never in pictures with us!" "This one is my favorite because it's dad and me and you."

My favorite reaction was the 5 year old boy in #5's karate class "Wow, Mom! It's like you're part of our family."

That's why this has become my Lenten non-sacrifice. It's my gift to the families around me. We're putting mom back in the picture, because we all love to see more of her smiling face!


Karie, the Regular Guy's Extraordinary Wife said...

Awesome idea! I might have to borrow that one.

Abigail said...

This makes me smile. 'Mom, it's like your part of the family!"

Anonymous said...

As a 50 something mom of adult children, i can attest that most vacations went by without any pictures of me. I dont think i realized until a few years ago when going through old photos. What a great, inspirational idea. Love your blog

Lena said...

I applaud you. When I receive Christmas card pictures of children, I wish the moms were included because the moms are my friends.

Christine said...

What a wonderful idea! (I hope someone like you walks up to me and asks me this next time I'm with the kids...)

elizabeth said...

i love this. so simple but so great.

Kristi said...

Great idea! Just found your blog through Leila's Catholic Bubble and I'm really liking it. :)