* A kind-hearted warning: You will not want your younger readers to see this blog!
I sit here on the first of March and I know that crazy little Leprechaun is lurking around the corner, eager to leave his trail of craziness. Soon milk will be green, cereal thrown across kitchen counters, cans of tuna in school backpacks. Lucky children will find a sprinkle of magic dust, which ironically resembles glitter. But who cares, since that dust brings you good luck for the following year.
In some ways he is like his friend the Easter Bunny. Now, that visitor was raised properly. Yes, he does leave footprints, but he always brings gifts of chocolate. Of course there are those that enjoy the Tooth Fairy most of all. That tiny flying Fairy leaves no mess at all. She quietly flies in at a moments notice and leaves a gift under the pillow. I recall getting so excited when the Tooth Fairy would leave a half dollar! Now I hear she leaves ten and twenty dollar bills! Sorry, but that is just wrong. Don’t we all know that the Tooth Fairy leaves a token—a sign of magic—not a deposit in the college fund.
Of course, this list would be incomplete without Santa Claus. He is the master of all that is magical. Children across our entire planet make their lists, behave accordingly, leave a plate of treats and go to bed early with the hope that Santa will visit their home before they wake up Christmas morning. Somehow they believe he can travel the globe, slide down chimneys and fly in snowstorms, in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. They believe—as well they should.
Until they don’t. Until they start adding up two plus two and realizing it just might not add up to four. It all starts out with innocent comments. “I felt the tooth fairies wings on my cheek last night.” “I heard Santa’s sleigh land on our roof!” “I saw the Easter Bunny hopping out my window!” Delightful years pass and then come the carefully worded questions, “Does Santa buy his wrapping paper from our school fundraiser too? “How does the Tooth Fairy know when I lose my tooth?” “Why are you emptying my piggybank in the middle of the night?” “Why doesn’t our alarm system go off?”
Then the unavoidable day arrives. Your child looks straight into your eyes and asks that dreaded question, “Mom, are … YOU the Tooth Fairy?” It’s such a tangled moment in parenting. You delicately explain that yes, you are indeed that clumsy, forgetful Tooth Fairy that borrowed money from their piggy bank. You watch the innocence drain from their face as you struggle to explain that you were not exactly lying, just fulfilling an unspoken parental obligation. Carrying on a time-honored tradition.
During my rambling explanation my mind wanders to my memory box. The one located in my heart that is overflowing. In it is the look on my son’s face when he peeked into the kitchen to make sure that crazy leprechaun was gone! Or the moment my daughter spotted the magic dust on her stool. Or when the Easter Bunny left our son a hockey helmet filled with chocolate eggs. Or that unforgettable time Santa thought he could actually build an ice rink in our backyard on Christmas Eve!
I lock my memory box, tuck it close to my heart and I hear my child’s voice, “Mom! Mom! You are Santa too, aren’t you?” In my mind I am screaming, “Run Leprechaun, run!
Moral: The magic of bunnies, fairies and Santa is very real. Be sure to fill your life with memories worth keeping because in the end those will be some of your most prized possessions.
Your lucky friend,
A little thing I do: Every St. Patrick’s Day I bake Irish Soda Bread and deliver it to just a few. In the past I have left a loaf in my mailbox, delivered to my kid’s school, left on my neighbor’s porches, sent a batch to my husband’s office. Each year I think of someone who I want to know that I feel lucky to have in my world. This year the Irish Soda Bread goes to, drumroll please, our plumbers. If you have been without indoor plumbing you totally understand this pick! No need for a story, it just ain’t pretty!
Irish Soda Bread
2 cups of flour
2 tablespoons of white sugar
2 teaspoons of both baking soda and baking powder
Dash of salt
3 tablespoons of softened butter
1 cup of buttermilk
Melted butter for top
Optional: 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds and ½ cup raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Work softened butter into dry with your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. If you like, now is this time to mix in raisins and caraway seeds. Make a well in the middle and pour in your buttermilk. Mix just until moist. Form a ball of sorts with this incredibly sticky dough. Honestly, it’s more like dropping dough in a heap onto a greased baking pan or parchment paper. Next place a bit of flour on your hands and gently flatten your dough pile a bit. Using a sharp knife, make a crisscross cut 1/3 way through top of dough ball.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden crusty brown. Brush your bread with melted butter as soon as it comes out from the oven. When cool to touch, using a sifter to sprinkle the top with some flour.
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