For those of you who may not know, I was born and raised in Mississippi, smack dab between Memphis Blues and New Orleans Jazz. I grew up loosely knowing about Mardi Gras, but wasn't formally instructed until I took French in junior high.
You see my parents are not from Mississippi. My father moved in his late 20s from Boston. My mother went to high school there after her father retired. His family is from McComb, which you would think would mean my mother grew up with Mardi Gras, but not really. My mother converted to Catholicism. My grandfather (her father) was a Mason and my grandmother is an Eastern Star. I've never seen them to go church. Not even a Protestant one. Ever. I'm not even sure what denomination they are/were. But while they were/are not anti-Catholic towards us, I don't imagine Mardi Gras is something they would celebrate. I'm sure you are seeing an interesting story emerge about my mixed family, and at some point I will share it with you.
My husband grew up in a mixed family. His father's family is mostly Church of Christ (so they baptize infants too) and his mother's family is mostly Catholic. He has an interesting story about how he ended up being raised Baptist, but that's another day. He didn't grow up with Mardi Gras either although it's mostly because of geography. He's from Missouri.
So what's a mom to do? I'm teaching my children about Mardi Gras. Not the part about the flashing for beads. But the other aspects...dressing up, indulging in food, crowning kings and queens of the parades, and of course the parades. All a huge hurrah before Ash Wednesday.
If I were a smart mom, I would have looked up books. But alas I'm easily distracted. Instead I planned to do fun crafty stuff and as luck would have it my library had the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog. It's actually one of my favorite princess movies because neither character is a teenager hell-bent in going against their parents by chasing after thieves or humans or foreigners. And she's not helpless and easily tempted. He is, but all humans are by nature. It also takes place in the 1920s of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
I plan on making beignets this week. And King Cake and gumbo over the weekend. Because I'm crazy like that. And I believe in teaching my children about their cultural/religious heritage even though it's kinda sorta remote (as I've already explained). We already colored joker hats and worked on masks. Tomorrow it's crowns. Then stringing fruit loops onto yarn to make necklaces. And of course the baking.
So here's my Lenten thing for this year. It's similar to last year's but not quite.
Me: Try to smash a rosary somewhere in my day. I had aspirations for the Morning and Evening Liturgy of the Hours, but that would be crazy. I also have some sort of devotional geared for Lent.
It was free. I also have Fr. Barron sending my inbox with messages. So I'm set there too.
Boys: Finally teach HB how to cross himself. This has been something I've futilely attempted before. He can clasp his hands and look prayerful or penitent, but he gets a deer in the head lights look when Father blesses him and sends his group off for Children's Liturgy. I need to fix that. And since Knee is Knee, he'll probably learn it too. Knee has that sort of knack.
Me: Giving up all non-religious movies, books, and music (not that I listen anymore. Canada's radio is well...different. It's American artists, yes, but it's hard to put my finger on it to explain.) And no internet on Wednesdays, barring an emergency. I put that disclaimer there because I use the internet as a way to stay in contact with family.
Boys: Giving up non-religious movies. I have three of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series. I have Veggie Tales. I have Bernstain Bears. I'm trying to find something else religious-y kid-friendly that the library might have, but it's a struggle. Adult films are easier.
It's hard to give. I find myself over-scrupulous of what charitable organizations are doing. So this year I'm giving to my parish's building fund. I'm also clearing out some of the kid's toys. It's something I've been meaning to do, but have been putting off.
I got Tiffany's booklet in the mail. Thanks!! I'll have to post my thoughts. But this post is huge enough at the moment.