Over My Shoulder: Our Very Own Leprechaun

by Ann Robson

Every March for many years I have shared stories about St. Patrick’s Day. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family and fondly remember celebrating St. Patrick. His day is a bright spot in the waning days of dreary winter. It was a tradition to break any Lenten fast on March 17 and we took advantage to enjoy food, drink and fun.

On March 17, 1970 our personal celebration took a wonderful twist. Our only child, daughter Elizabeth Ann, was born at 11:04 that night. She almost waited too long to arrive on such a special day. Little did I know that this would become her trademark through life, saying “I’m running a little late” for many things.

Her arrival enhanced our lives considerably. She was an adorable baby (says every mother of a newborn). She settled into a comfortable routine early in her life and let us know when she needed food or other attention.

As she approaches her 50th birthday this year, I have been flooded with random memories. It’s not easy to condense 50 years into 500 words. As I reminisce I realize that her big birthday is affecting me more than my recent 80th. It’s one thing to recognize your own aging but realizing your child is approaching middle age is a bit of a shock. Where did the time go?

The toddler who was fascinated by Sesame Street followed by Reading Rainbow learned a lot from Big Bird and friends. One day we were having a conversation and as I watched her put a thought together and express a conclusion I realized I was going to have to be on my toes. Thus began the ‘Terrible Twos,’ and suddenly we were celebrating her 16th birthday and then getting ready for high school graduation and on to college and then the real world.

Throughout the years I’ve often said “where is it written,” a phrase borrowed from Judith Viorst referring to the many jobs a Mom has to do. One day this perky 4-year-old replied: “On page 264 of the Mother’s Manual!” I still use the phrase and often get the eyes-rolled-back look.

As a tomboy she was quite accident prone and has some scars to prove it — on her chin from trying to climb the stairs at a friend’s home; on her forehead from a fall when her buddy tried to pick her up at nursery school; a broken leg from riding on the back of an older child’ bicycle; a surprising shakeup after a fall while learning to ride a horse.  We were on a first name basis with some ER nurses.

She followed her father around like a puppy ‘helping’ him mow our huge lawn, raking leaves, building steps down to the river bank. She would dispose of treasures our cat brought to me. She fondly remembers hours playing outside with her BFF as they explored the woods, the river, anything they could. They spent happy hours playing in the snow, throwing snowballs, sliding down the hill, trudging up and sliding again and again and again.

She is a great story teller and can turn a simple traffic stop into an amusing tale. She has had many adventures and embraces each new opportunity with great gusto.

With a heart full of love and pride we wish her many blessings in the coming years and thank her for being such an important part of our life.

Ann Robson is the author of “Over My Shoulder: Tales of Life and Death and Everything In Between.” She may be reached at overmyshoulder@charter.net .