When did we go from green milk to green beer?

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day.  So, to honor our family tradition, we had corned beef, cabbage and boiled red potatoes for dinner tonight.  Yes, tonight. On St. Patrick’s Eve.  (As if there was such a thing… like Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, and… oh nevermind!)

If you don’t know the history of St. Patrick’s Day, it is an Irish day of feasting to celebrate the death of the Irish Patron Saint Patrick.  As legend would have it, St. Patrick used the three leaf shamrock to illustrate the trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  I think it’s especially important to note, that St. Patrick’s Day most often falls during the Lenten season (see last week’s post on that subject) and that the abstaining from alcohol that goes along with that for many is lifted for the feast of St. Patrick.  I’ll drink to that!!!

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My children, though they don’t look it, are 3/8 Irish.  Like most of us, they have a heritage of a lot of different things, but Irish is predominant in their heritage after being African-American.  Yep… my kids are African American and Irish and a sprinkling of some other stuff.  If you didn’t know already, they are adopted.  So, to honor their Irish heritage, when they were young I used to turn the whole gallon of milk green on St. Patrick’s Day and tell them the Leprechauns came in the middle of the night and turned our milk green.  It was fun and a part of their childhood that they still remember.

My kids are 19 and 20 now (almost 20 and 21), and they are living at home, but independent in many ways.  They don’t get excited over green milk in their Cheerios anymore.  But, they do get excited about green beer.  So tonight, we served green beer with our St. Patrick’s Day Eve dinner instead of green milk.

I found myself reminiscing about the days when they were young and little things like green milk were so exciting.  Now, my 19 year old daughter wants to know if she can have a green beer when she gets home. (My answer: “If you aren’t going to get in the car and drive anywhere.” Just in case you were questioning my parenting skills 🙂

Back when they were young, I couldn’t go to the grocery store without packing them in the car and putting them in the cart and saying “no” to the million requests for cookies and candy and crackers and soda.  Now, I can go anywhere I want without having to tote them along.  I longed for the day when I could go to the store or to the bathroom without little voices calling out to me.

Today, I got to torture my daughter with some shopping.  She hates shopping, but needed some clothes.   The price she paid, was that she had to endure my need to find some clothes for myself.  So, we got what she wanted and needed, and then she had to endure about 45 minutes (translate to her – 3 hours!) in Nordstrom Rack with me.  The whole time, complaining and telling me I did not need another purse, another pair of pants, another shirt.  I loved it.  I loved chatting with my daughter and goofing around and hearing her chit chat with her friend who tagged along.  It was like sweet nectar for a mama’s heart.

My daughter went off to hang out with friends.  Meanwhile, my son and his girlfriend joined us for dinner.  She had never had corned beef and cabbage.  What?  Oh my, what rock have your parents been hiding under all these years?! Seriously though, she graciously tried it all and liked it.  And my son groaned with satisfaction as he ate his corned beef with homemade ranch dressing.  (That kid has always put ranch on everything!) More sweet nectar for this mama’s heart. It was a day of feeding my soul.

So back to the question: When did we go from green milk to green beer?  I don’t know.  Somewhere between adolescence and divorce and adulthood. Somewhere I don’t remember.  I just know, that whatever the color of the milk or the color of the beer, I love spending time with my sweet children.  These are the days I savor.  This is what family is.



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