When I was single, living and working in Boston, holidays were strange. Unless my parents came to visit, it was uneventful. I didn’t decorate my apartment with stuff only I would see. What was the point? If there wasn’t a celebration at work, I didn’t celebrate. I remember feeling slightly annoyed around most holidays. Sometimes sad. Maybe a bit lonely. For most of them, I wanted to hit fast forward. Get on with regular life.
When I met my husband, things changed. When we went to get our first Christmas tree together, he brimmed with contagious, joyous enthusiasm. He had a this-is-what-life’s-all-about attitude I found intriguing and admirable. I was envious! I wanted to be like him. I still strive to. Then, we entered a whole new holiday level when the kids came. I can sum it up in one word: FUN! I defy anyone to remain a Grinch while celebrating with little ones.
Even if it does put some added pressure on Mom.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Last night, social media suggested I was Slacker Mom. More than one mom friend had made a homemade leprechaun trap. Leprechaun traps? With three young boys in my house, I have *never once* made a leprechaun trap. I scrambled — and redeemed myself by tucking some leftover chocolate coins (from Valentine’s Day, maybe?) under my boys’ pillows. Whew.
But this morning, my Facebook feed is overloaded with photos of kids in green. Not just green — coated with shamrocks. Glitter. Facepaint. Tattoos. Beaded jewelry. The whole bit. I had to scrounge to find clean green shirts for my boys. And they’re only somewhat green, with stripes and logos in the way. Clearly not made for St. Patty’s day. *Sigh*
That old irritation crept back. I couldn’t help it. What was the point?
Now, in honor of my late Grandmom Honey, I have to acknowledge my Irish heritage — even if it’s less than 10% of my genetic makeup. (But, hey, who’s 100% anything anymore. We’re all mutts here in America. Right, Trump?)
It’s not that I don’t approve of celebrating all things Irish. That’s fine. But really, isn’t something lost with all the green and shamrocks and stuff? I mean, are my kids even talking about what St. Patrick’s Day means in school? Or are they just looking for that magical rainbow?
Wikipedia says St. Patrick’s Day “commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.”
Tonight, while we’re drinking green beer and eating boiled dinners, will we toast the actual Saint Patrick? Heck, I’m partly Irish and I’m not completely sure what “Irish culture” really is. How would I expect my kids to celebrate it?
I’m at the public library working on my book, watching moms and toddlers waltz in in their best green. The librarians are decked out, too. I’m zoned in on my screen, part of me wishing for the fast-forward button. (I mean, Easter is right around the corner and I need to get the freakin’ baskets done.)
Out of the blue, one of the green-clad librarians approaches. I tense, expecting a lecture about having water bottles in the library. She isn’t here to reprimand me.
“Happy St. Patrick’s Day,” she whispers, and places an Andes chocolate mint candy by my computer.
Oh! My insides do a little flip. I actually laugh out loud. “Thank you!” (I don’t whisper.)
Suddenly, everything turns around. My attitude flips like a switch. A warm feeling comes over me, like a big hug of pure gratitude.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
What’s my problem? If this “holiday” is an excuse for people to wear an unflattering color and try their best Liam Neeson accent — so what? Why not celebrate this day? Why not celebrate EVERY day? Let’s be happy for whatever reason. Be happy for NO reason! Make that Resting Bitch Face a Resting Smile Face! Eat chocolate in the morning — just because!
The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful day. I bet if we all look hard enough, we’ll find that magical rainbow has been right under our Irish noses all along.
Now if you’ll excuse me. I have a chocolate mint to eat. Just because.