When my 7-year-old Caroline snuggled under the covers last night, and gave me a hug, she whispered, “I hope the leprechaun comes tonight.”
Alarm bells. What??
“He leaves treats or silly things,” my daughter said knowingly.
“Really?” I said.
What I wanted to say was, “WHO IS THE PARENT WHO STARTED THIS!”
I am already the tooth fairy, who apparently cheaped out leaving a dollar, when other kids got five bucks. I am the Easter Bunny, who hops through the house leaving a fun jellybean trail and baskets stuffed with candy, sidewalk chalk and new underwear. Hey, I’m a practical rabbit. I am Santa Claus (still working on that post baby belly). I love filling stockings and leaving gifts I know they’ll adore.
But do we REALLY need to be Leprechauns too?
What’s next? Uncle Sam sneaking sparkers under your pillow on the 4th of July? Magic trees that produce presents for Arbor Day?
So, I thought I could blow this leprechaun thing off. My husband Jamie and I figured Caroline would be fine if nothing happened. Like, the leprechaun must have missed our house. But when we went to check the three kids before we went to bed, a tiny handwritten note sat outside Caroline’s door.
“Dear Leprechaun, Will you be my friend please? Your friend, Caroline.”
I don’t know why my eyes started watering. It must have been dusty upstairs.
So we found some M & M’s, and left them in a little pile outside of her door as well as her 2 siblings’ doors. I even shaped them into a heart, as if to say, “Hey, I’m a tiny leprechaun who found some old M & M’s. I can’t write a note back, but I love you just the same.”
This morning, when Caroline opened her door, she was giddy with disbelief.
“Oh! Look what the leprechaun left! He loves me! Look at the heart! Can I eat an M & M?”
Being a leprechaun = not so bad.
That was the ultimate moment for me, to see her delight and surprise. But it was slightly sad, too. I know she won’t believe in magical things for much longer. Some wisecrack kid on the playground will reveal the identity of the tooth fairy and Santa. If I can help her hang onto that innocence a little longer, what’s the harm? Honestly, it made me feel like a kid again too. And in the daily grind of making it all work, it made me stop, laugh and enjoy the moment.
So, I’m a leprechaun. A bit taller. Not as crafty.
But please. Will someone print out a parental handbook for stuff like this so I’m prepared next time? And just so you know, I draw the line at the 4th of July Fairy.