I am happy I have crows feet around my eyes that tell everyone immediately at a distance that I laugh. I laugh A LOT. Laughter makes everything so much more manageable and the unmanageable stuff, well slightly better. I am happy I have a belly that hangs a bit over my pants, and bulges a bit at the hips like a delicious doughnut that proclaims I break bread with my family and friends on a regular basis. I may not grace the covers of swimsuit magazines, but I happily salute any woman comfortable enough in her own skin that she lets herself shed layers and revel in sunshine and water in a bikini or even a one piece if that’s daring enough for her to manage. It took a while but I made my peace with the silver hairs that sprout by the dozens around my temples. They testify that I have lived long enough and interestingly enough to have earned them. Truth be told, I am more than a little amazed to have made it so far. ❤️
St. Paddy’s day is a pretty huge thing if you live in the Boston area. It’s probably a pretty big deal elsewhere I’m certain but for the purposes of this post I will stick close to what I know for sure. I am not Irish. Not even a smidge. I am entirely certain this is obvious to anyone who lays eyes on my deeply middle eastern visage: swarthy features, proudly arching beak of a nose beneath the thick, dark wings of my birdlike eyebrows, and olive skin tone. You might cock your head, cross your eyes ever so slightly and determine that the mischievous glint in my eyes bespeaks a devilish hint of a potentially Viking gifted drop of Irish blood, but my grandmother has assured me this is not so. The devilish glint is my own. At any rate, my proximity to Boston growing up bred in me a fierce adopted nationalistic pride on this one day each year. It is an excuse to decorate, and I love to decorate. It is an excuse to don fantastically ridiculous themed costumes, and I love to don fantastically ridiculous themed costumes.
I count myself a number of this tribe each year, justifying my claims through marriage to a nice WASP of a guy, and the five children we brought into this world together. I am Irish this day by both proximity and association. It should be no surprise then that on this illustrious day I filled a large pot with water, meat, root vegetables and cabbage and boiled the crap out of the whole thing to serve for dinner. I chose a bright green dress, an understated head band with bobbing antennae topped with four leaf clovers bearing the bold “Kiss me, I’m Irish” on each, and cracked my knuckles in preparation for pinching the bottoms of people not properly dressed to observe this holiday. I proceded to work, ready, willing and able to start mischief wherever mischief was needed. Here it must be noted that I work for a Catholic Church, coordinating education programs for elementary school children, and individual plans for kids with special needs. I am a totally respectable woman. Totally appropriate. Entirely reverent. Most of the time. Ok, SOME of the time. Imagine my surprise this morning when my boss greeted me enthusiastically upon seeing me, and announced with great gusto to the entire office how ironic it was for someone like ME, who couldn’t look less Irish, to be dressed as I was and wearing such an impressive headband “being so lesbian” . He looked deeply mollified and attempted to get the word “Lebanese” out several more times, only to declare me lesbian over and over again to his open consternation and embarrassment, the wild and red faced laughter of the staff, and my complete and utter delight! I eventually supplied the correct word, patting him on the arm as he apologized profusely through a crimson cheeked, pained smile, and responded “It’s ok, father, besides it was just that one time in college.” Yep, this is gonna be an awesome day.
Dignity. Ever dignity. That was my father’s motto, and like the dutiful children my siblings and I were, we endeavored to strip him of it. Every chance we got. Our good fortune lay in his tireless patience and humor.
My own sojourn into parenthood lead me along much the same path. The eternal lessons in humility, panic, patience, and the art of field stitching wounds, finding lost items, locating public bathrooms for pea sized bladders, and cultivating a level of civilized behavior in my offspring suitable for general audiences. It’s a bumpy road, to say the least. To say the most…well, entire libraries of books on the subject already litter the landscape. I will spare you the unabridged version.
I love my children. I am continually amazed by their brilliance (which they get from their dad) and their keen sense of humor, sliding often into the dark, irreverent side, which I am certain they get from me. At every opportunity I have thrust upon them to become cultured and refined, they have proven time and again that my genetic contributions to their proper sensibilities has won out. Shenanigans and tomfoolery ensue.
I have, maybe, 3 or 4 pictures over the past 20 years in which my children are looking at the camera and smiling nicely. I have thousands more where not a single one of them was able to master the self control necessary for a 20 second photograph.
My albums, the records of my beautiful children, read like a year book for the local insane asylum. Why does this make me ridiculously proud?