A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Friday, 17 March 2017

Enjoy your cheer - it comes but once a year! A reflection on St. Patrick's Day

A few years ago I decided to start a new tradition with my family for St. Patrick's Day. I wanted to make traditional Irish soda bread - and my reward for my efforts would be the retired silver clover charm for my True Colours bracelet.

But on the evening of St. Patty's Day, my husband and I were arguing (God-only-knows what we were arguing about), and my son was whining and saying, "Can't we make something else?" (you know, the way they draaaaaaw out the end of the last worrrrrrrd). I just got annoyed and said, "Fine! Forget it!" and went to my room to sulk! I needed to give myself a time-out.

With my emotional state already ramped up by the argument, I was overwhelmed with my feelings of frustration with the kids, and on the verge of having a panic attack. At that time I hadn't really learned about distress tolerance or emotion regulation, but at least I removed myself from the situation until I could calm down. Not long after, my daughter came upstairs and said, "Mommy, can we still make the bread?" She always reminds me to be resilient. She must also be lucky because she found three four-leaf clover before she was ten!

Taylor has always been quite shy, and she is often cautious when given the chance to try something new. There have been so many times when I have said to her, "Don't miss out. You may not get this opportunity again." That night, on St. Patrick's Day, I needed to say this to myself.

When you struggle with depression or anxiety, it is often the things we say to ourselves, rather than the things others say or do, that creates the overwhelming emotions that we experience. So I said to myself, "Don't miss out on this opportunity to make these memories with the kids. St. Patrick's Day only comes once a year!" I knew that if I didn't do this I was going to be really mad at myself! I also didn't want to let this ruin the whole evening. So I pulled it together. The kids each made a loaf of soda bread (with just a little direction from me). And we had some tasty Irish soda bread with dinner, to celebrate our Irish heritage. Now it's an annual tradition and the clover charm is an important reminder.

On a four-leaf clover, according to tradition, the first leaf represents hope, the second represents faith, and the third, love - the fourth is for luck. But for me this little four-leaf clover will also represent something else. It will remind me that there are things that only happen once a year, or only once ever, so "Don't miss out." I try to remember to be in the moment. To make memories. And to cherish those "unforgettable moments."

Our traditional Irish soda bread

I just realized that the Pandora four-leaf clover charm looks a lot like the cross you score into the top of the round loaf of bread! To read the traditional reason for the cross you can check out my baking blog Leonard Family Favourites, and see what my kids scored into the top of their first loaves of bread. This year the charm has the added congratulations to myself for completing the blog post about Irish soda bread in time for St. Patrick's Day. I wanted to do it in memory of my late Uncle Gordon Bingham, because the reason I started the blog was to share favourite family recipes with Gordon's children, and my youngest cousins, Alyson and James Bingham. I was pleased, thanks to Aunt Edna, that I was able to include a photo of Gordon as a teenager with his family, not long after they left Ireland and immigrated to Australia. You'll find recipes for three versions of the bread and some photos of how we like to eat it. You won't believe how quick and easy it is to have warm homemade bread, fresh from the oven. Our picky eater Taylor even likes it!

A bracelet made just for St. Patrick's Day this year.
On my Essence bracelet the "prosperity" charm provides a focal point.
I have been reminded that not all of my readers know the names of every charm Pandora ever produced (as I do) so I thought I would list the names of the charms on this new bracelet I made just for St. Patrick's Day; clockwise from the top: birds of a feather; love, hope and faith; moss; clover; leaf spacer; green fascinating murano; tree of life; fireworks (or starburst) clip; wildflower murano; roses spacer; celebration; unicorn dangle; world peace; roses spacer; wildflower murano; fireworks clip; wise owl; green fascinating murano; leaf spacer; cathedral ceiling; family tree; sun, moon and stars; and elemental flow clip.

In case you're wondering why I have the unicorn dangle on my St. Patrick's Day bracelet, it's because of this favourite song from my childhood, sung by a Canadian group of Irish immigrants; they called themselves The Irish Rovers. Their first hit "The Unicorn" was from a song originally written and recorded by Shel Silverstein, author of the famous book "The Giving Tree." The Irish Rovers TV show was a staple in my home while I was growing up. When I think "Irish," this song about the unicorns always comes to mind.

You Tube video of "The Unicorn" by The Irish Rovers with lyrics

Related Posts:

A little girl and an egg remind me to celebrate - a story about an interesting observation about my daughter and the insight it taught me.

When your brain and body scream 911 - a story about my introduction to the idea of "wise mind"  and the "threat system," and the reason for intense emotions.

Will he always love me? My explanation of panic attacks - a story about the origins of schema-focused therapy. A rather long post but my explanation of panic attacks.

Managing emotions means learning to surf - a story about emotions coming from the fight-or-flight response, and managing intense emotions by learning to "ride the wave."

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