Irish Spring

I’m not Irish. I’ve never been Irish and it’s a pretty safe bet that I will never be Irish. And considering I grew up in Idaho, I am probably not the most knowledgeable guy on the planet when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day. About all I really know of the holiday is that if you don’t wear green you get pinched a lot as a kid. After getting married Trina and I began a family of our own. Having kids is a great responsibility and one that I take very seriously. Well as seriously as I take anything with according to Trina’s assessment is that I don’t take anything seriously. There are some things that I do hold in high regards. The Diamondbacks for example, I take them very seriously. Ok, that is about the only thing that I can think of that I do take seriously but hey that is something isn’t it?

As the kids began to grow up I thought it was important that I instill upon them the important significance of the major holidays. For that reason I insisted that we create family traditions to celebrate these days. I made sure the kids understood the weather predicting powers of furry rodents from Pennsylvania. Our family tradition for Groundhog Day was that we would have the traditional meal of Trina’s homemade egg rolls. At this moment you are probably scratching your head wondering, did he just say egg rolls? Don’t worry I get that a lot. Let me explain. Trina’s egg rolls are amazing. One of the main ingredients of these is fresh ground pork and as we all know pork comes from pigs and pigs are sometimes referred to as hogs so basically we are eating ground hog meat. Hey, I didn’t say that the connections were going to be easy, I just said there would be connections.

Another holiday that is pretty big around our house if Mother’s Day. Let me warn you right now that his particular tradition has been the source of many family discussions and has caused more than one parent-teacher conference with the kids’ school. It started with a discussion between Trina and I about holiday icons. We have friends who try to separate the secular celebration from the religious implications of the holiday. For example for Christmas they celebrate Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and then spend Christmas day commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. On Easter they celebrate the Easter Bunny on Saturday and then spend Easter commemorating the death and rising of Christ. Trina admired this separation whereas I thought it was bogus. A holiday and an icon should not be separated. During our argument I questioned, “if Mother’s Day had an icon would these people celebrate the icon on Saturday then spend Mother’s day commemorating their mothers?” Trina discounted my argument by stating it was absurd since Mother’s Day didn’t have an icon. Well not one to ever back away from an argument I decided from that point forward I would create a Mother’s Day icon. As May rolled around I came up with the concept of the Mother’s Day Frog. I gathered the kids around and explained the concept. There is a magical frog who is looking for his mother. He comes around the second Sunday in May searching for his long lost mother. As a child he enlists the help of other children to find his mother. The children will bear gifts in search for their mother. They will hide these gifts so that the other mother’s do not find them. Their own mother will of course know where the gifts are because a mother knows her own children. Mothers also are eager to help all children find their mothers. Therefore the children will also hid plastic frogs around the house so that their mother can help the Mother’s Day Frog find his own mom. I’ve come to the conclusion that kids will pretty much believe anything especially if there are animals and magic involved. So I went out and got some plastic frogs and let the kids hide them along with their gifts to Trina. The morning of Mother’s Day we have a Mother’s Day Frog hunt where Trina has to try and find the plastic frogs and her gifts. The kids love it and I won the argument. Trina insisted that just because I created an icon doesn’t make it a standard. Well she may have something there. So I started telling the story of the Mother’s Day Frog and once I finished the story and the person stopped laughing I would get the same response, “hey you know that is kind of cool I’m going to try that.” Before long the Mother’s Day Frog had expanded beyond just my family and to the neighborhood. One year we happened to be in Walt Disney World for Mothers Day and I had forgotten to bring the plastic frogs. I spent several hours searching the parks for plastic frogs (it’s harder than it sounds to find plastic frogs). At each park I explained my dilemma and the concept of the Mother’s Day Frog. Before long I had several cast members helping me look for frogs not just for me but for them to take home too. I also happened to meet someone who worked for the Hallmark Corporation and I explained my concept to her. After she got done laughing she said she would see if she could help me out in getting some Mother’s Day cards made that included a frog. Sure enough the next year I found a Mother’s Day card with a cartoon frog on front. Slowly I am creating a grass roots effort to mainstream the Mother’s Day Frog. You can laugh if you want but how much crazier is this than having an overweight guy dressed in red velvet crawling down chimneys depositing gifts under decorated dead evergreens?

So that brings us to St. Patrick’s Day. Considering I know nothing about Irish tradition nor do I know anything about the holiday other than it does have an icon (always important in my book) that looks like a character that came off a Lucky Charms cereal box. It would have been easy to say that our family has a tradition of eating Lucky Charms but I’ve never been one to make things easy. Instead I hearkened back to my childhood days of getting pinched for not wearing green. So for St. Patrick’s Day each year I will get up and make the kids breakfast before sending them out into the cruel, cruel pinching world. What do we eat? Why green eggs and ham of course. You have to eat something green and we all know that the only thing that goes with green eggs is ham. And they are very versatile. You can eat them in a box; you can eat them with a fox. I think it is important to prepare your kids for life. Each of them left the house this morning knowing that they were wearing green at least on the inside.

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