When I was growing up, my mom did her best to raise me as a Roman Catholic.  I went to church on Sundays, CCD, Easter mass, midnight mass, and I even became an altar boy. No, a priest never molested me. And while I may joke about it, I don’t actually feel left out. I served my grandmother’s funeral as an altar boy, and I even served at my friend’s grandmother’s funeral. I stopped being an altar boy when it became about the money. You would be amazed at the amount of tips one could make when serving at a wedding. However, as I got older, I drifted away from my beliefs and the church. I went so far that I could now honestly say that I am an atheist, and I sure my mom is struggling with that. Possibly more so than with the fact I am also vegetarian.

So yes, as a kid, every year around this time I would have to give up meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday after it till Easter Sunday. My mother would remind me every year, without fail. And she still does. That right, my mother takes the time out of her day to remind her vegetarian atheist son to not eat meat on Fridays during lent. I would get the reminder through a phone call, a text, an email, and in the case of this year, a Facebook message.

I actually do appreciate the fact that my mother still feels the need to remind me, and that she actually takes the time to do so. And no, I am not suddenly going to eat meat on Fridays, giving up being a vegetarian for lent. I know my mother is probably bothered by my (lack of) beliefs.

Having said all of that, there is a great story about what I gave up for lent during my college days. I convinced my friend to actually give up being a Catholic for Lent. We took up worshipping Clifford the Bid Red Dog and Milkshakes. It was a very fattening lent, but one of the most stress free Lents I have ever had.

So, thank you mom. Thank you for reminding me to not eat meat during the religious time of Lent.

I’ll be sure to not eat meat on Fridays just for you.

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