Finding the gold at the end of the rainbow

I almost skipped St. Patrick’s day this year. We’re not Irish and don’t have long-standing St. Patty’s day family traditions (aside from a green beer or two in my 20s). And after a year of quarantining at home I’m really. freaking. tired. Plus, I’ve always hated a holiday that has social traditions that give others Carte Blanche to pinch you based on what you are (or more accurately aren’t) wearing. No thank you.

While we’ve set a trap or two in our living room in the past, for the most part I’ve relied on school to give the kids the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They’d collaborate and devise traps with classmates, set them as the final bell of the school day rang and go to sleep that night with anxious anticipation to get back to school and check out what mischief the leprechaun had caused.

But on day 369 of being home, there was no classroom to check. No classmates to collaborate, and no final bell to ring. Every step of every day in the last year has been within the four walls of our house. In 2020, St. Patrick’s day was the beginning of this crazy year, or maybe more appropriately the end of “normal.” It was the first of many moments requiring a pivot, and of memories (and history) in the making. I vividly remember running to Safeway one last time last year in a panic to get Lucky Charms and any accompanying goodies I could find, acutely aware of the lingering cloud of fear all around us amid empty toilet paper shelves. I didn’t set foot in Safeway again until two weeks ago.

Just as I was about to put the nail in the coffin of leprechaun shenanigans this year, I heard my 10 year old reminding her younger sisters “we have to set a trap tonight to catch the leprechaun!” Even from the other room, I could hear the sparkle of magic and belief in her voice. And I just knew… the leprechaun had to make a visit again this year because for all my kids lost in the last 369 days of being home, there’s an equally long list of things they’ve gained, not the least of which is togetherness, resilience, and a little longer to hold onto that childhood innocence and belief.

Yesterday while they marveled at the note left by their leprechaun, the black pots (otherwise known as Target cereal bowls), and the shimmering gold necklaces with their first initial embedded on a gold medallion (thanks Amazon), I sat back and listened to their bubbling belief. “I can’t believe the leprechaun knows our names!” said my middle. “And how does he know to bring us lucky charms every year? We are so lucky!” said my oldest. “How do you know he’s a HE?” asked the youngest. And on they went, talking excitedly over breakfast.

I know our years (or maybe days) of their belief in childhood magic are numbered. So while we may not be Irish, and while I draw the line before the classic green toilet water and green footsteps across my floor, I realized that this year has given me countless blessings too, starting with remembering to slow down and infuse magic in our home whenever possible. And remembering that a bowl of Lucky Charms once a year goes a long way.

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