I planned to write a sort of standard post about St. Patrick’s Day -why we celebrate it, what I love about it, etc. But then, everything changed. It seemed trite to write about St. Patrick’s Day in the face of a global pandemic.
I was back to the drawing board, but it’s all been said. There are so many messages out there. Should I add to the noise?
Then it hit me. Most of us are stuck at home. Many of us have kids who are looking to us to feel safe. To feel normal which brings me back to St. Patrick’s Day. What would we be doing this week if things were normal? We’d be dressing in green and cooking corned beef and pinching people who forgot.
Starting today, Ohio schools are ordered to shut down for a period of at least three weeks. Parents are scrambling to find childcare, learning to telecommute, and we’re all going to give homeschooling a try. Instead of dashing to work and school on Tuesday and then trying to get into a crowded Irish restaurant or making some sort of Irish dish, we will be at home. There’s no rush. Many of us have an unusual opportunity to spend the day with family. I don't mean to be irreverent about the real fears we are facing, but every day is a gift and we should do our best to make the best of it. So, why not do it up big for good ol' St. Patrick?
Start with music.
Whether you’re more Celtic Instrumental or Irish Pub, the internet has it all. Have fun searching for Irish music that puts you in the mood for an Irish celebration. Music has a way of changing the mood. I hope you find the right songs to make things a little more joyful.
Talk about who St. Patrick was:
Kids tend to know more about how to catch a leprechaun (also important) than basic facts about St. Patrick. Facts like, he wasn’t Irish. He was born in Britain. When he was 15, he was kidnapped by raiders and sold into slavery in Ireland. While in Ireland, he converted to Christianity despite being surrounded by Pagan druids. Don’t miss the power of this. He was forced into a place where most everyone was a Pagan and God grabbed him up and said, “This one’s mine. I have big plans for him.” After escaping Ireland and retuning home, he became a Catholic priest. He had a vision from God to return to Ireland to share Christianity with them. He did and he’s now known for Christianizing Ireland. That’s why today “Irish” tends to go with the word “Catholic” not “Druid”. These are not the things I typically associate with St. Patrick’s Day, but man, I should. What an amazing story!
Use your extra time for some fun activities.
When I think of St. Patrick’s Day, I think of four leaf clovers, leprechauns, gold coins, and rainbows. Check out this website for 60+ activities to do with your kids. There are fun crafts and activity pages kids would typically do at school. Why not try a couple?
Explain that we all get to be Irish today.
My husband is part Irish and I’m not. My kids like to remind me that I’m the only one in our family that’s not Irish. I’d feel like an outsider, but I know that on St. Patrick’s Day we all get to be Irish. The other days of the year, I have to settle for just having an Irish name. It’s fun to celebrate another culture. And no cultural celebration is complete without…food.
Make some yummy food:
We have more time this year, so let’s do it up. Why not try to make Irish soda bread, or meat pies? Dessert anyone? How about an Irish apple cake? These are the things Irish people usually make on St. Patrick’s Day instead of our typical corned beef (which is also delicious). Get the kids in the kitchen, and after proper hand-washing of course, let them help you try a new recipe. Kids are more apt to try something new when they helped make it.
My prayer is that God stops this virus in its tracks and staying home keeps it from spreading. I hope we’ll look back on this time not as one of fear and obsessive news-watching, but a time with family making memories. Maybe when our children are grown, they’ll sit their kids down and say,
“Once on St. Patrick’s Day, we had to stay home because there was a sickness spreading across the world. And God blessed our family that day. We talked about who St. Patrick was. We listened to fun music and we made some delicious food and fun crafts. It was the perfect day with family. You know, St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish. He was born in Britain. When he was 15, he was kidnapped by raiders and sold into slavery in Ireland…”
God bless you and your family.
And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!