|The Lyon's family outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC|
It was dark as night with a thick fog swirling around the street lamps as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and looked out the window. “Do we really need to get the kids up this early?” I asked my husband as he slowly awoke from his slumber. “Of course we do, it’s St. Patrick’s Day!” he responded without hesitation. And so it began.
First Liam and Ciara were hustled out of bed, into their Sunday best and down the hill to the train with their Dad. Why? To make sure they got to church on time – and not just any old church, but St. Patrick's Cathedral. I know what you’re thinking because I had the same thought, “Gee, nothing says fun for kids on St. Patrick’s Day like being dragged out of bed, stuffed into fancy clothes and squeezed into a church pew!” Fortunately for them, this was only the beginning. And, I have to admit, it is a huge honor to be invited to Mass at St. Patrick’s on March 17th – a point which is lost on them now at five and seven years old but, I hope they will eventually realize.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was hustling our three-year old triplets out of their cribs and into their Irish rugby jerseys. Kevin, Declan and Cormac awoke with their typical cheer and joyful anticipation of the day ahead. “Is today the day?!” “Today is St. Patrick’s Day, right Mama?” “Today we go to the parade!” These little Irish eyes were smiling up at me as I hurried them out of the house to catch the next train to the city. That thick fog was just starting to lift as we headed south along the Hudson to Grand Central Station , eliciting some keen three year old commentary about “smoke on the water” and cute questions like “Is it always smoky on St. Patrick’s Day, Mom?”
We arrived at Grand Central and did what any mom with a trio of three year olds would do next. We rode the escalator. That’s right, it caught their eye while we were waiting to meet my parents at the clock tower and I just couldn’t resist their amazing powers of persuasion. The problem tough, was that once we rode up, they were petrified to go back down. After several failed attempts, I finally left my mom a message explaining that we’d been foiled by the escalator and were going to start marching toward the parade.
What a sight we were as we battled the growing crowds along Fifth Avenue and headed toward St. Pat’s. I had one wide-eyed, fair-skinned, freckle-faced boy in each hand and one tagging along behind, clinging for dear life to the back of my green sweater. We paused a few times along the way, taking in the wonder of the windows of Build A Bear and American Girl. Their excitement and enthusiasm were contagious as passers-by stopped to smile and wish us a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
We finally arrived on the steps of St. Pat’s where we met my husband, Liam and Ciara and were eventually joined by my parents, brother, sister-in-laws, niece, nephews and friends old and new. As the pipers played and drummers drummed, I said a silent thank you to St. Patrick. Not just for chasing the snakes out of Ireland but, for giving us one day a year to honor our heritage, tap our toes to the music, wear our green with pride and truly cherish our family; St. Patrick’s Day is a reminder of just how blessed I am to look into smiling little Irish eyes and see the wonder of the world from their point of view – for it is a very nice view indeed.