I’ve always been into celebrating holidays – even holidays that aren’t really holidays. I don’t think I ever hit that age where I was too cool or to old to celebrate. I think part of this has to do with my parents living in different towns and my Dad always sending us packages on the occasions he couldn’t be with us. On St. Patrick’s Day, this always included Irish Potatoes from See’s Candies. But St. Patrick’s Day also was special because my mom is (mostly) Irish. This was the pre-Pinterest era, of course, so honoring the day meant wearing green and having corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Most years, my mom, sister and I would also watch “Darby O’Gill and the Little People.”
It’s fun now to share these traditions with my girls (although I think we’ll wait until they’re a bit older to introduce them to Darby O’Gill, on account of the banshee). This year, however, I won’t be home to celebrate with them, but I still wanted to recognize the occasion.
When we went to the library to return our Dr. Seuss books, I picked out a couple of St. Patrick’s Day stories. Pumpkin, true to form, selected mainly princess stories. After a few nights of reading her selections, I insisted we read “St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning.” She resisted at first, because she likes to choose, but once I started reading she was really into the story, which has to do with a St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
When I finished, she said, “What is it, Momma?”
“St. Patrick’s Day?” I replied. “It’s an Irish holiday. St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Do you know where Ireland is?”
She shook her head no, so I took the globe off her shelf and showed her where we live, where Ireland is, and where Armenia is.
“You know how you have green eyes, like me? We got them from my mom. She’s Irish, so we’re a little bit Irish. Just like my dad is Armenian, so we’re a little bit Armenian.”
She seemed to understand this, and she smiled. She asked me to play the Irish music box my mom had given her when she was a baby. I told her the song that plays is called, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” She smiled again, and asked to hear the song each night after bedtime for several nights after (she has three music boxes she typically rotates at bedtime.) The following night, we read “Jack and the Leprechaun.”
My girls probably won’t get corned beef and cabbage this year while I’m out of town, but I did put together some goodies for them to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. And, of course, it includes those See’s Irish Potatoes.