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Friday, 7 March 2014

Bad Catholic. Sugar Baby Love. All them Rotten Apples

On Ash Wedneday the boy advises us all that he no longer considers himself to be a Catholic. "Of course I am not, actually,  one now" he says "and I mean when you consider all those like big cars those you know Bishops have,  never mind  what what's his name the Pope says about poverty, why should I be? So I'm not".  Right.  Ok.  Thats like that then.

When I was  twelve years old I advised my father  that I no longer believed, and Catholicism, Mass going was no longer  for me. Oh how quickly, in his  scorched earth response, he let me know that that was not my decision to make. On Sundays, marched in front of him with the others to Church and priest, I decided, nonetheless.  It took him at least a year to notice my silent refusal to partake of the body of Christ, to line up for the holy communion.. "Every barrel has a rotten apple, contaminating the others" he thundered, scorched some more. I persisted. Rotten,  adamant.

Now, my daughters ask me what I am giving up for Lent. "I mean I'm giving up all chocolates, sweets, fizzy drinks"  the boss says roundly. She has an ulterior motive however, she is intent on living healthily, nurturing a beautiful mind.  "Me too.  And sugar in my tea" the beautiful girl chips in. "It will be great. Though hard.  Very hard" she adds. She also has an ulterior motive, the beautiful frame to maintain.  I ask the boy if he too is practicing umm self denial  this year. "Yep!" he says,  "Of course!" "And eh what might that.... "It's private" he snaps.  Oh.  Right.  My husband and I indulge in vulgar speculation in the privacy of the marital bedroom. "Girls?" he says, " drinkin' and smokin'?,  misogynistic rap? What you think? Or..or... I know, being obdurate!, being loud!, being breathtakingly rude.!...."

In my twelfth year, before I shrugged of all forms of organised religion, I though perhaps I might be marked out for a nun. I practiced prayerfulness, a sort of self flagellating piusness, in a tormented away. The thing about it was you knew that resistance was futile, if you were chosen. In fact it was most likely you wouldn't want to, and your obduracy would be hacked away at by God. I developed a compulsive facial twitch that year. At its end I delivered myself,  took a chance on going to hell in a hand cart, and cast the heavy cloying cloak of holiness as far from me as I could fling. I cast after it the bloody, oppressively melancholy stations of the cross at Easter,  the shuffling herd like observance at Mass.  In spirit then, in body later.

The beautiful girls come downstairs on Wednesday, heavy eyed, pasty faced, glum. "???"  It was the Pancake Tuesday pancakes, the sugar high"  the boss explains. Ah yes, they wanted to make their own this year, asking only for quantities of Sugar! Nutella!  Rasberry Jam! from me. "We will do it" they announced "no need for you to get involved".  And they did. They started with a stack for breakfast, they flipped up another after school, and had a pancake cook out after dinner. By that time they had quite run out of Nutella.  "What on earth's the matter with 'em" I asked my husband, listening to them shrieking in the kitchen, giggling helpless about the kind of stuff they usually will not let me hear. Hmm. "Sugah!" he crooned, " Sugah Baby Love,  Love you baby love,  Sugah High!"

I asked my boy if he had been denied the Nutella, the Sugar,  the Rasberry Jam, where he sat calmly in the kitchen reading his war book, bopping his head to Tupac. "Nah" he said,  "I can handle it better is all. I pace myself. I eat it all the time".  I sometime wish I could bend back time,  introduce my son to his grandfather, be a fly on that wall as they tell each other whats what, what's not, what they will and will not have,  the bottom line, the way it is,  the end of story.