“Dad, you made me a ham sandwich.”
I slapped my hand to my forehead as I realized the implication of what my nine-year old son had just said. It’s not that he doesn’t like ham sandwiches. He eats them all the time. But when I made his lunch that Friday morning, I’d forgotten that it’s Lent.
My younger son is preparing for his First Holy Communion. For those of you who aren’t Catholic, that’s when you can accept bread and wine in church. (Actually, there’s a lot more to it than that, but this isn’t meant to be a religious dissertation.) He’s been preparing for two years and he will be able to finally take communion in May. So, he’s been learning a lot.
One of the things he’s been focused on is the “no meat on Fridays rule” for Lent. So, with a baseball game last Friday night and knowing we would be ordering pizza for dinner, he knew there was only one option. My sausage and pepperoni loving son split the toppings with his brother, half pineapple and half extra cheese.
I was immediately embarrassed when I realized what had happened. However, my wife had a different reaction. “What did you do with the ham?”
“I tossed it.”
“You just ate bread?”
My wife and I were both a little perplexed. I appreciated his dedication, but I didn’t want him to starve in school. However, my little guy was determined. He also must have noticed the expression on our faces.
“Well, I ate half of the ham.”
The updated response brought a mixture of relief and guilt, but my wife and I have been discussing it since. What meatless entrée could he take? Peanut butter sandwiches are out. He has allergies. We could try it with a grilled cheese but it might not be good by lunch time. A cheese sandwich on its own is dull.
We know we have until Friday to figure this out. However, my little guy is focused on bigger things.
Realizing that fish can be on the menu, he's asking for sushi every Friday until after Easter. We told him that defeats the purpose. To him, sushi is like steak. It’s a way to celebrate. And it makes no sense to abstain from meat, only to substitute it with something that makes your mouth water anyway.