I confess, being almost full-term, I have not been able to wrap my head around Lent very much this year. I just can't think much of abstaining from meat or doing much to help the girls focus on Lent when I am waddling to the bathroom every 30 minutes, not sleeping very well, and trying to pack for the hospital and prepare for the arrival of a newborn not to mention preparing for labor. And even if I thought of ways to properly observe Lent, I know they'd fall by the wayside as soon as labor began and not resurface for at least a couple of weeks later.
So, there will be no Lenten box or Lenten calendar for the girls. Just from the pregnancy I already can't eat hotdogs or lunchmeat (the first thing I am eating after this baby is born is a turkey sandwich!) and the reflux has cut out other foods I like but would be punished for eating, like orange juice and other acidic or spicy foods. I am limited to 1 caffeinated beverage per day. So, the idea of cutting out more of my beverage or dietary options, especially when I'm already tired and uncomfortable, just doesn't sound very appealing.
I realize Lenten offerings are not supposed to sound appealing. But I just don't know that I can focus on much of a physical offering right now beyond the pregnancy and labor. I fear I'd be much more resentful than penitential.
So I've been trying to focus more on other ways to zero in on Lent, such as Lenten reading, additional prayers, etc. I think I've figured out an acceptable Lenten offering for myself in this regard, but I do have 3 little girls I'd prefer not pass through Lent oblivious to its reality or purpose. Last year we adopted the "no treats except on Sundays" rule which worked well and I think we will again this year. But I'd also like to get some additional prayer into their day. Cecilia doesn't say the Our Father at Mass on Sunday. I keep trying to get her to say it with everyone and she says, "sometimes I forget." So I was thinking maybe a decade of the rosary each day might help hammer home those prayers into a second-nature recitation. I know she knows them but maybe not so well as they could just roll off her tongue. I have to figure out when would be a good time during the day to do it, but hopefully it will help them make those prayers as familiar as "Play with me!" by the time Lent is over.
I hope everyone, in whatever your circumstances or situation might be, is able to observe this Lent in some meaningful way and will reap the benefits of this penitential season a hundred fold. Blessed Lent everyone!