Every year I avoid St. Patrick's Day in alliance with my guilt for letting my mom be alone in her last moments. Every year I count the years, I write, I spend some time on my couch just resting. I don't cry, I ran out of tears a long time ago. I never eat the traditional foods or wear green, I do the bare minimum of my Mommy duties as related to the holiday. I make sure the kids have green shirts and buy something pre-made for their potlucks, that is all I have to give, because I can't avoid the guilt every time I start to enjoy it.
This year something shifted, and I noticed it but chose not to acknowledge it until I was sure. When the potluck sign-ups came around I signed up to make green vegan mint chocolate cupcakes. I spent a lot of time on the recipe, shopping, and finally baking. I baked for almost 4 hours and when I was done there was green St. Patrick's Day glitter mixed with smudges of fudge all over and 4 dozen green cupcakes sitting pretty ready for the potluck. I helped dig out green shirts for the kids this morning, and realized I really should have bought new ones. I felt guilty again, but for dropping the Mommy ball, not for something that happened 6 years ago. I took Mica to class and instead of heading home I stayed and volunteered. While the kids had story-time I googled "vegan St. Patrick's Day" and my eyes immediately hit a corned beef and cabbage recipe. I jotted down the ingredients I would need and decided to make an entire meal out of it tonight with roasted red potatoes and Irish soda bread shaped like a shamrock. I don't think it happened at any one moment, but at some point I let go of the guilt and life filled the space it had been occupying.