These days, whenever holidays come around, I try to remember what our lives and celebrations were like BEFORE.
BEFORE parenting, sippy cups, spit up, potty training, sleep deprivation, worry, fellow-parent empathy, stepping on legos, band-aids, kisses on boo-boos, and understanding the meaning of what it means to truly love another little thing more than you love your own life.
I happened upon some photos from a visit to Ireland over Saint Patrick’s Day about 10 years ago, when our children were still five years from being in utero glimmers.
I laugh when I look at photos like this from this month. In honor of Spring and March and St. Patrick’s Day- A day of Rainbow Crafts and Cooking with the kids…
But, 10 years ago, a much thinner me (and hubby) got off the Ryan Air plane in Killarney, Ireland just before St. Patty’s Day to party like only the Irish know how to.
We got off the plane, and went to rent a car. The rental company offered us a discount if we would be willing to take the “transit”. They gave us a key.
We went out to where this “transit” might be picking us up. And we waited. And waited and waited.
Then, we went back into the airport. ”The transit never came to get us to take us to our car.” ”Oh, no!” They said in Irish accents. You get a discount for RENTING the transit.” We walked out to the lot that they pointed us to.
There sat a gigantic van with floor to ceiling windows all around and it could seat the entire Partridge Family. The gear shift was literally 3 feet long from floor to shoulder while sitting and the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car (the right).
We went back in and got a smaller car. But, the coolest thing ever sat in the back seat of the rental….a small package with a complimentary disposable camera!
How cool and hospitable!
We snapped these pics as we drove down the wrong side of the road throughout Ireland.
Fast forward 10 years.
I spent St. Patrick’s Day making gold thumbprint pots of gold with the kids. And, it was every bit as fun as dodging cars coming directly at us as we forgot the local driving customs.
But, 10 years ago, my husband and I made our way to Blarney Castle, home of the famous Blarney Stone that you’re supposed to kiss.
My husband kissed it.
I did not.
I had a theory that there was a reason that the Blarney Stone Dude smiled like this. All that space on the Blarney Stone and that spritz bottle of sanitizer he never used once while I watched tourist after tourist kiss that same spot that local kids probably pee’ed on at night.
He planted everyone’s kissers right smack on the same exact spot every time.
Back then, I was, like, “Um. No.”
The irony is that I come in contact with more bodily fluids than that on any post-motherhood day since and don’t even think twice about it. Nothing some spit or a wet wipe can’t clean up nowadays. :)
St. Patrick’s Day now means painting rocks like green-colored animals….
But, BEFORE….it was just looking at miles of man-made boulder fences in pastoral Irish fields. One day, we would love to take the kids to Ireland so they can see this part of their heritage.
I can see the photos in my mind that we will take of them standing on this natural boulder fence.
At night, we went to Irish pubs and drank delicious Irish beer (Kilkenny- the best beer in the world, people- and you can’t find it in America. Drat.) We listened to awesome Irish music and sat with fun and boisterous Irish people.
But, we noticed no one wore green on St. Patrick’s Day and there was no green beer to be found.
When we asked the locals why that was, they told us, “Oh, we don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here. That’s an American thing.”
We found this a little funny.
During the days we were there, we snapped and snapped photos throughout Ireland using that awesome disposable camera the Irish car rental company had generously supplied us as a tourist gift…..
And when our trip came to a close, we went to turn in our miraculously crash-free car to the rental company.
The lady at the window asked us where the “accident kit” was.
We were the dumb American tourists.
You mean that wasn’t a complimentary tourist camera?
We told them they could have the camera back but it was full of awesome trip pictures.
She rolled her eyes.
Something told me this was not her first rodeo.
I think other Americans had pulled the same shenanigans on her. Only, we really, really DID think it was a generous tourist gift.
We should have noticed the chalk and warning triangle in the kit, too. I suppose.
Anyway- That was St. Patrick’s Day THEN.
But, this is St. Patrick’s Day NOW.
And, to be quite honest.
I think it’s a toss-up.
NOW is definitely more awesome.
It’s more awesome because my kids are HERE. NOW.
And, it’s more awesome because there was a time when I loved my work (and the work was good), but that I didn’t notice the beauty of things like this rainbow that we saw together the other day….
I notice these things because I want my children to notice them.
Having kids has opened us up to slow down and see real beauty in nature and simplicity.
And, St. Patrick’s Days now are full of springtime fun like sloshing in lakes and puddles in wellie boots.
And seeing real-live caterpillars!
The only thing missing these days are those complimentary tourist cameras from that super nice Irish Car Rental company!
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT YOUR CELEBRATIONS
BEFORE AND AFTER KIDS?
HAPPY ST. PATTY’S DAY TO YOU!
For some really beautiful and awesome posts about Ireland from one of my absolutely favorite blogs, check out The Outlaw Mom Blog!