Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A pocket full of gold....

It's Saint Patrick's Day.

Last night, I caught my 4 younger children dressing thickly in green...they wanted to be sure that no one would pinch them in their bunks before they awoke in the morning. They looked very silly all bundled in various shades of grass, pine, kelly and forest, and I had to laugh about their devotion to St. Patrick's Day lore.

"Hey guys, St. Patrick's Day isn't a day to pinch and hurt each other just because they aren't wearing green. I don't want ANYONE pinching ANYONE tomorrow!"

My 13 year old son stood about a foot an a half above my hobbit frame and grinned from ear to ear as he said very confidently..."Actually mom, St. Patrick's Day IS all about that. Our noble St. Patrick, the man we are honoring,was Sainted for finding and killing non-Christians. In other words, people who didn't share his belief...people who didn't conform to the dogma he followed. St. Patrick's day is all about punishing those who don't conform to the rules. Therefore, ALL those who do not conform to the RULES of wearing GREEN tomorrow, SHALL be pinched by order of following dogma and conformity, in honor of Saint Patrick."

I should have known.

My children are home schooled. What this means is that they, by virtue of my encouragement to learn and seek knowledge in every corner of their lives, know far more than I do about almost everything. They absorb information. Ingest it at every turn. It has started to feel like every-time I think I'm going to introduce them to something new...they ALREADY know it in much more detailed versions than I would ever have attempted to offer. They love the macabre in life, and as such, know their history in all it's glory. History is full of gore and horror you know....

They delight in it.

Not to make them sound like little ghouls. They are the sweetest bunch of kids you could ever meet. Neighbors know they can count on them to watch their pets, rake their yards, bring in their mail. They are gentle and tender with each other, and helpful to me. They just happen to have raw, gory, and dark humor at the forefront of their educational delight. It's really no different than the grotesque songs people learn at camp. Their just better at it than I ever was. They don't just sing the songs, they make them up and play chords along with the words. They get the rhythm down and belt it out with gusto.

I mentioned this to my husband this morning. That I was sometimes concerned about their DARK humor, and it's sophistication. He smiled and reminded me that I came from "The Adams Family" and that he was surprised that I was at all shocked that that dark humor had passed into their veins. Then, we talked about how they are dealing with grief too. That humor IS a way some people process grief. That having been through what they have been through this year, it seems really healthy to him that they are finding ways to sing and laugh about the darkness in life, and still are the sweetest, most tender children he's ever met. They are processing their pain with each other, through laughter and song, through pouring through history and science to extract all the "ugly" truth of life and really find out more about what it IS to be alive.

I realized that I want to rewind something that can't be rewound; I want to take my kids back to the innocence of being happy singing the theme from Barney the purple dinosaur...

"I love you, You love me, we're a happy family, with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you...won't you say you love me too!"

I want to take them back to making little animals with play dough, and planting daisies in the garden. I don't want them to know that their brothers can die. I don't want them to know that they almost lost their mother....twice. I don't want them to hear me crying into my pillow at night, or to see my eyes, once sparkling and cheerful, raw from wiping tears away. I don't want them to know about the horrible things people and nature do to each other. I don't want them to question Santa, the tooth fairy, or....God; Even though I am struggling with my own rapid fire doubts, questions, and furies.

And yet---I am so proud of them. Their voices are clear and true. They speak with confidence, honesty, and sincerity. They are kind to others, they are funny, witty, musical and intelligent. They are helpful, vivid explorers of life. They love each other...they love their parents...they love the world. In SPITE of it's ugliness.

They love the world. They love their lives.

And, it's not because they don't know the truth. They understand that life dishes out pain, disappointment....true horrors. But they still seek out rainbows.

They seem to have found the pot of gold that life has to offer.

Yes, they all went to sleep clad in green armor. They also set a trap for a is tradition. They kissed me goodnight, reminded me to wear green today.....and sang beautifully harmonious, dark, giggly songs as they drifted off to sleep.

So, today, as I sit in front of the computer preparing to write a few articles, and spending a little "me" time on my blog...I am, of course, wearing green, and the corned beef that I "corned" myself is simmering in the crock pot upstairs. The children woke up this morning to discover that their trap had been launched, and the cupcake within had been devoured with delightful remnants of crumbs left behind (burp!) along with 5 gold coins for their pockets. They know that life can be unkind. But they are still laughing. They know the history of this holiday, but they are still enjoying the fun that is to be found in the NOW of this holiday. They know that people they love can...and will...die. They also know that life moves forward, that butterflies still dance in the sky, that songs can still be sung, rainbows will still appear, and that love is eternal.

Love is eternal.

That is a treasure worth laughing about....worth smiling about.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day....


  1. Your children sound like amazing souls and far wiser than me, one who has lived in the world for so much longer than they have. To love life in spite of its ugliness is truly the trick. x


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