As my daughters grow older, more and more each day they do things that resemble that of a grownup. But thank God, more now than then, they remind me that they are, indeed, teenagers.
Enter the Lenten season.
On Ash Wednesday back in February, my daughters informed me - while I was making their lunches for school - that they were going to give up junk food for Lent. No ifs, ands or buts: Junk food would be stricken for 40 days and 40 nights until Easter Sunday.
That was fine with me.
I could replace the junk food in their lunches with fruit cups, applesauce or yogurt. However, as they wondered what would replace their junk food diet - which usually consists of Gripz, Rice Krispies treats or 100 calorie snack cookies - the little wheels inside their heads began to turn.
They soon turned into litigators who started to offer up different things they could still eat. Sorry, cupcakes and snack pies are junk food. Bags of chips and Pringles are junk food, too.
After huddling together, the two decided that they would change their junk food choice to just ice cream. To symbolize what Jesus did for Christians, my daughters had talked their way down to ice cream.
But that was fine. We have it in our house all the time. In my mind, it would be good for them to give up something they are around a lot. So, no ice cream.
However, on the day my daughter Julianna got her braces removed after a two-year stint, she asked if she could celebrate with a milk shake from McDonald's. I said no because a shake is ice cream.
She argued that a shake is just whipped milk. Whipped milk - that's a good one.
To solve the problem, I phoned John Dibert, the most Catholic person I know outside of my mother. Dibert has been my best friend since high school. I honestly believe once you leave Vatican City and cross the Atlantic Ocean into our time zone, he is the most studied person in the Catholic faith.
He turned on me.
Though he admitted a shake was ice cream, he said I should look the other way and let my daughter celebrate getting her braces off with a shake.
I felt I had God on my side, but the debate went to Mr. Dibert, and I bought Julianna the shake. But, like a grownup, at least a grownup in my family, I filled her with guilt as she drank her shake. I would like to think the guilt helped me win this battle this time.
At least it made me feel better.
Scott Franco is a member of the Altoona Mirror sports staff, a husband and a father of four. He can be reached at 946-7528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.