You’d think that as an Irish girl I’d do it up right on Saint Paddy’s Day. And if you do – you’re wrong. The day has become quite the boring non-event for me. In preparation for this post, I looked through my digital picture files of the last ten years, and I was surprised to discover there is only one March 17th file -from 2005. We’d just sold our home in Maryland and in a burst of nostalgia, I took a picture of every room, from every angle. There isn’t one picture of my children dressed in green, of us eating corned beef and cabbage, or of me imbibing Irish whisky. If I have time, I’ll check my old photo albums. Certainly there must be one picture – somewhere?!?!
Even though I’m of Irish descent, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t a big deal for me while I was growing up. It’s weird, because my dad was 100% Irish, and my mother a mix of Irish, Scottish, and English descent. Being raised as a Brahmin WASP, my mom very much played down her Emerald Isle roots – despite her red hair and Irish last name (once she was married). In fact, she would wear orange or pink every March 17th. I loved her very much, but she was definitely a strange duck.
Then came the college years and you know what that means. Green beer! Oh, the memories are fuzzy, but I did have quite a few wild and crazy St. Paddy’s days. Seriously though, green beer is quite nasty. Yes? I remember there was a bar in Naples called Cisco’s, which is now an Outback, that would have a big St. Paddy’s Day party each year. One year, before I was twenty-one, I managed to get in and it was crazy. I vaguely recall a very funny story, but unfortunately the details are long gone. Although I think my roommate Sandy did get sick from her green beer.
In graduate school and during my early twenties, I waited tables at a very popular waterside restaurant and bar in Fort Lauderdale. The March holiday often coincided with spring break and I would always work and make a killing. The staff would dress in green, and since this was in the days before my blonde hair, I very much looked like a sweet Irish lass. The bar crowd ate it up. Cha-ching. It was so lucrative that I would also dress as a leprechaun for my Halloween shift with equally profitable results.
During the career years, pre-kids, I would indulge with a night out during the week to toast my Irish ancestors, but by then, the bloom was falling off the proverbial Irish Rose. When I was a newlywed, I would make Sheppard’s Pie with a recipe from a long-lost Irish friend. Sadly, I’ve now also lost the recipe and haven’t made Sheppard’s Pie in years.
I definitely used to dress the kids in Irish themed shirts when they were younger, despite the fact I cannot produce a picture as proof. My children attended a Catholic pre-school, so St. Patrick’s Day was always celebrated with great fanfare. It was there that a trouble-making leprechaun showed up, to turn their desks upside down and remove all the books from the shelves. To be fair, the leprechaun also left behind gold (chocolate) coins. Some parents decided this should carry over to the home front. I have to say, that really, really irritated me. Hello?! I’m Irish, and I did not get that memo! In addition to Santa and the Easter Bunny, now the leprechaun was supposed to make an annual visit to the house to secretly mess things up. That made me uncomfortable, because I don’t like a messy house, and I refused to participate. Then my little Irish babes would ask why the leprechaun didn’t visit them? Seriously, not cool!!!
What are my plans this year? Nothing. St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday and that’s the busiest day of the week for us. I’ll spare you the mundane details, but we have no time for partying.
Okay, I just read what I wrote and it sounds somewhat bitter. I don’t mean for it to be. I blame it on my lingering winter funk and my age. I’m getting old, and if I can’t party all night at a pub, I don’t want to do anything. But yes, I’m a mom, and I do feel guilty that I’m not doing more to mark the day. Gretchen Rubin, in her book Happier at Home (or it could have been The Happiness Project), suggested that having family rituals for these secondary holidays can produce happiness and family memories with little effort. I’m paraphrasing – she of course, said it better.
I’d like to do something, besides green beer and corned beef, but am at a loss as to how to commemorate the day. I don’t want to have to tidy up after a pesky leprechaun. Does that make me a bad mom? Of course, I could be over-thinking the whole damn thing (and therefore blame my cohorts of FTSF). Perhaps I’ll just serve some magically delicious Lucky Charms for breakfast and be done with it. My kids will think they won the lottery!
“When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve dropped the ball.”
What was your greatest St. Patrick’s Day? Are you Irish? Do you celebrate? How? And please tell me you don’t do the crazy, messy leprechaun thing!
This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s link-up is hosted by Kristi, Lisa and Kelly. Please click on the links below to read their posts and to find some other awesome St. Paddy’s Day essays!