When I was in college, St. Patrick's Day was pretty much everyone's favorite day of the year. People skipped class, huge house parties were held, the bars all opened up early (I'm talking like 8am) and there were giveaways and t-shirts and specials galore. You didn't want to miss it. Professors would even postpone exams knowing that kids would skip class (I also took one semi-important exam pre-bar but dressed to go out with shamrock tattoos already on my cheeks).
Mostly, the day revolved around drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. Even after I graduated, St. Patrick's Day was always a fun day, time to get out (even if it was still cold out which it usually is in upstate NY in March), have a few drinks, "celebrate" the very small amount of Irish heritage I have (for the record, I'm mostly German).
But, that was a long time ago. I look back at pictures of myself back then (like the one pictured above) and can't help but laugh sometimes. Like that one up there taken on a pre-kids St. Patrick's Day years and years ago, I'm not even WEARING A BRA. Like, come on. I can't remember a time when that was possible. But, it was. Pre-children. No bra days.
And after five pregnancies, I've missed my fair share of celebrating St. Patrick's Day either because I was pregnant or nursing or had a newborn, so it's nothing new to skip drinking for the day, but this year is a little different because not only will I skip drinking this time (NOT PREGNANT, I REPEAT: NOT PREGNANT AGAIN), I also don't drink at all anymore.
We look forward to days like St. Patrick's Day, days where you can "let loose" a little bit, because we need to, we have to. It's a break from the every day doldrums, I get it. You wanna let your hair down. I've been there. I have a lot of hair, and I gotta let it down too, my friend. And for the first time I'm choosing to do that without drinking. I'm going to give myself the space to take time off, relax, have some fun, except all of that fun will be sober.
The thing is, that's kinda the way my whole life is trending right now anyway. Having five kids sometimes makes you think I would NEED to drink wine, but it's actually the having five kids that makes it impossible. Have you ever tried to parent hungover? Times that by five. Not fun. It also takes away from present moments, and when I have to make moments for that many kids, I just don't have enough of them to have some of those moments be soaked, even a little bit.
Instead of green beer this year (okay more like Guinness, I was never a green beer fan) I'm going to make cupcakes and shamrock pancakes, and will probably be in bed before 9pm. Will I miss that specific kind of crazy fun that is a crowded, festive bar on a day like St. Patrick's Day? Probably a little bit. But I miss it the same way I miss the no bra days. They just ain't happening right now, but I've got a lot of good stuff that has replaced it. Like bras. And green rice crispie treats, and waking up without a hangover.
I write this follow up, this continuation, because I have heard from so many of you about the giving up drinking thing, and I wanted to let you know that if you want to reach out to me about giving up drinking, please do so. As I said in my first post, even though I wasn't an alcoholic, I knew that it was time to just give it up, but not being an alcoholic doesn't mean it is super easy. Days like St. Patty's Day when every person you know is going out (or staying in) for a drink makes me feel a little like I'm missing out, but I'm not, and you aren't either.