Once a year, on March 17th, the world takes a day to celebrate the wearin’ o’ the green. Saint Patrick’s Day, is really just one of the more fun holidays, that for most of us means nothing more than pinching ayone caught not wearing green, eating corned beef and cabbage, or drinking green beer and celebrating with our friends.
If we lived in Ireland, the day would be very different. That is because in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate Saint Patrick, who was the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick lived in Ireland in the late fourth and early fifth centuries, but he wasn’t Irish. He was was a Romano-Briton who was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. Saint Patrick was the kind of man who, made lemonaid out of the lemons he found himself with. While he was enslaved in Ireland, he made it his goal to become a missionary there, and he is credited with bringing Christianity to the country, as a result. In Ireland, that makes the holiday a religious holiday, similar to Christmas and Easter. These days you can find Saint Patrick’s Day parades, shamrocks, and green Guinness beer in Ireland, but it’s mostly there for the tourists who think that is the right way to celebrate the day. For most of the Irish, however it would not be that way, and in fact, up until 1970 Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on Saint Patrick’s Day. That is a stark contrast to the way the day is celebrated here, but it doesn’t mean the same thing to Americans.
Like many people, I like to eat corned beef and cabbage and pinch those unsuspecting people who have forgotten their green, and while I don’t drink beer…green or otherwise, I like to have fun with the day. But, I also like to reflect a little bit on my Irish roots. I have several parts of my family who came from Ireland, including my Grandma Byer’s family. She wanted to get in touch with her Irish roots too, and so she and her siblings took a trip back to the old country, where they saw the castles, and cemeteries, kissed the Blarney Stone, and visited all the other sites, and I believe they met some of the family who still lives there too. It wasn’t Saint Patrick’s Day when she went, but they really had a good time.
So much has changed since I was a kid, or even a young mother. No, I’m not talking about walking 5 miles to school in the snow uphill both ways…mostly because that was a story that belonged to my dad…who assured us that it was exactly what he did. I’m talking about the way people discipline…or often, don’t discipline their kids. It’s not exactly the fault of the parent that doesn’t discipline either, because these days disciplining your child is a step most young parents take with great apprehension, and who can blame them. Years ago, some idiot who had no kids, decided that it was cruel and unusual punishment to spank your kids…probably because they got spanked and didn’t like it, but since they don’teven have kids, they shouldn’t tell the rest of us how to discipline our kids.
I’m very much against child abuse, or the abuse of anyone for that matter, but a correctly administered spanking is simply not abuse…it is a show of love. A child who is given no boundaries, doesn’t feel loved. Imagine putting your one year old on the roof of a building with nothing to stop them from falling off and walking away. Are you showing love? No, you are showing them that you don’t care about them.
Well, I can tell you that my parents loved me!! And I can tell you that my girls know they are loved too. And we knew the rules, though I can’t say that we always kept them…but after the spanking, we wished we had. I never liked spanking the girls in public, because it wasn’t about embarrassing them, it was about disciplining them, but the public restroom worked very nicely. Everyone might have known what was about to happen, but the girls had time to compose themselves before they had to face the world again.
Still, there was one way to discipline your child in public and only you and your child knew it, which could be very funny. There is a place at that spot where your neck connects to your shoulder, that can be very painful if pinched. No you don’t have to leave a mark, just give that skin a good squeeze. Your child will let out a yelp and may start crying, like my daughter did, right in the middle of a store, but after she dropped to the floor crying, and I walked on down the isle, she looked up and found everyone staring at her wondering if she was crazy, she decided that I had won that battle. Throwing a fit when no one can see what is wrong with you can be very embarrassing, and with my daughter, it only happened once. Yes, they got pinched there again if they needed it, but they took their punishment in silence, and behaved themselves afterward…not to mention going to the store became a much more peaceful time for me.
These days,I suppose many people would frown on my discipline style, which just goes to show how much things have changed, but my girls were well behaved, and I could take them anywhere. And once they know that you have ways to discipline that will fit the situation, they tend to choose not to push your buttons. The result of button pushing can be uncomfortable.
When Christopher and Shai were born, just one day apart, many people thought they were twins…at least those who didn’t know they were cousins. I suppose part of the problem is that they were together much of the time, and people just see two car seats in the back seat, with two babies about the same age, an immediately assume that they are twins. Amy’s mother-in-law thought they were both so cute together, that she bought them a matching set of boy and girl outfits, and asked that we take some pictures with them in the outfits. We made arrangements to have the pictures taken, and did our best to take the picture she wanted. However…the best laid plans do not always produce the best results.
Christopher was always quick to smile, but Shai was a little more…jumpy in those early years. We tried over and over to get both of the kids to smile at the same time, but as is normal with kids, that just didn’t happen. The kids were about six months old, and as we all know, it can be tough to get two 6 month old babies to be happy at the same time. Still, we persevered and took whatever possible shots we could. I can’t say that the picture taking process was a very successful endeavor, but the end result was better than we thought it would be.
The best picture we could get is the one you see, and while Shai is being fussy, the picture has a charm all its own. We have always wondered what the problem was, and many have speculated about it. But, I think by far the cutest one was the idea that Christopher is smiling in that mischievous way because he just pinched Shai, which would also explain her face. I’m sure that at 6 months of age, any pinching that might have happened would be entirely by accident, but the look on their faces is just so classic, that we couldn’t help but think it could have happened just that way…or maybe Shai was just having a bad day. We will never really know what the problem was, but the picture is so precious, no matter what was going on.