I have a confession to make. I have two children, one of whom continues to believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. However, my other child became wise to Santa and his fellow magic makers at the tender age of 6; I was crushed. I had looked forward to several more years of Christmas magic with her. But, thankfully there is a silver lining.
She believes in Leprechauns.
It is true. She is deeply convinced of their existence and I drink up every last drop of it. This is one of the reasons I love St. Patrick’s Day.
Before you think that this is a Pinterest-worthy mom contest, I must be very clear in telling you that I am not a crafty mom who prefers low maintenance projects. I have not brought myself to do Elf on the Shelf, but Leprechauns come for only one night, which is manageable for me. Plus, St. Patrick’s Day is a lot less hectic than the entirety of December. A welcome green respite during those long days of winter, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day has really become something my family anticipates with excitement.
The night before, we set a simple trap for the Leprechaun. Legend has it, that if you catch a Leprechaun he has to give you all of his gold. This has held a great amount of intrigue at our house. We make a simple trap out of construction paper, tape and perhaps a cereal box or an oatmeal cylinder; or maybe even Legos. We use whatever seems easy and whatever my kids want to use. I also happen to have a cute little Leprechaun figurine that we have set out each year as a decoration during the month of March. Sometimes, my children like to pretend that it is part of the trap or alternatively, pretend that it is the real Leprechaun turned to stone. They are convinced that Leprechauns only come out on St. Paddy’s Day. and they are very curious to see if he will come to life this time and get stuck!
My kids usually write the Leprechaun a note, sometimes welcoming him to our house; other times taunting him to not get caught. And then off they go to bed.
This is the best part.
The Leprechaun comes every year while they are sleeping, and he does the following:
He drinks the milk in our refrigerator and turns it green. Then, he has to use the bathroom. I won’t get too particular about that, but he definitely drinks a lot of milk. Obviously a chap with good manners, he clearly washes his hands. But, he leaves his tiny green footprints everywhere! They’re show up on the counter in the kitchen, around the bathroom, in the hallway, and in my children’s bedrooms. Apparently, Leprechauns can walk on walls and up the sides of furniture.
Some years, he has left footprints on their arms. More recently, he has (rub-on) tattooed them with shamrocks while they are sleeping.
Finally, he leaves them a brief note on the counter by their trap. They never catch him.
When my kids wake up in the morning, they are amazed and convinced by the tattoos on their hands, the footprints, the milk, and the magic of sharing a bathroom with a Leprechaun. Sometimes he leaves them a trinket and other times a box of Lucky Charms. They love going to school and showing off how the Leprechaun left his mark on them.
I relish every minute of it.
As you may guess, I have a bit of Irish in me and I grew up eating American St. Paddy’s Day food. Now, I make a crock pot dinner each year in my own home, and invite my parents over for dinner. We all linger over steaming plates of corned beef and cabbage, nibble Irish soda bread, and my children chatter about the Leprechaun. I love to watch their faces and savor the moment. It can get pretty busy around our house, but these are the memories that slow me down and press deeply into my heart. Precious.
A little bit of green finger paint. A little bit of green food coloring. A few St. Patrick’s day rub-on tattoos from the dollar store. And a whole lot of magic.