“And it’s Brennan on the moor, Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted was young Brennan on the moor!”- author unknown
Today my Euro-mutt blood only runs green, ’tis St. Patrick’s Day! Celebrating my Irish heritage was always a year round tradition, as a child I cut my teeth on my father’s Clancy Brothers albums, belting out songs whose choruses sang of women slugging men in barroom brawls, and drunken funeral wakes where the ” deceased” rise up from their caskets after someone spills whiskey on the body. I loved listening to my Dad sing along, and would watch astonished when he wilted to “Danny Boy”, but quickly recover to “Jug of Punch”. My Greats were straight up Irish, the Caseys’ and Sullivans’ came over on the boat and handed down a love of the Motherland’s traditions, music, arguing and the drink. Many years later I married a man from good Irish Oulahan stock, and the band played on.
Boy, did it play. Joe and I played for the first nine years of our marriage..no kids for us. We took off from work on St. Paddy’s every year, and joined the revelers in the city, taking up residence on bar stools and belting out the tunes from my childhood that I knew so well. We declared it our favorite day of the year, a high holy day, always observed.( It still shocks me when people ask me “when is St. Patrick’s Day?”..I have to restrain a desire to punch the blasphemer in the jaw. Seriously? People are very different, no doubt.)
One hot, July day in that ninth year, while we were walking our Irish- named Labs, Clancy and Bailey, the subject of children came up..or the lack of children came up. Why weren’t we trying..we weren’t getting any younger..we both loved children..should we? Standing in the middle of the street that day, we decided we were happy, nothing was missing from our lives…we’d be the cool Aunt and Uncle instead, with money to burn. We shook on it..promised no regrets,,and started talking about all the cool stuff we’d buy..bigger home..a boat. The Irish angels laughed…for as were swearing our devotion to a childless marriage, they had already sent Brennan to us..something a quick test would confirm two weeks later to two stunned parents to be.
Oh..right..that June night at the ballpark…the Orioles hit a Grand Slam..the celebration until the wee hours…a shooting star, the first I had ever seen…an Irish angel dispatched…well, actually two angels.
Early in a pregnancy already risky due to a murky genetic blood thingy..I rushed off to the Dr., knowing I was losing the baby..only to find out then that there were actually two microscopic souls in there..and one had apparently taken a relocation offer..the Dr’s called it “Vanishing Twin Syndrome”..but I knew the angels had other plans for him. So on I trudged through the nine months, March 14th was given as the due date, but I knew that I’d never last that long, and I had forbidden my fetus to arrive on the 17th..that day was off limits. How could I live with the fact that my child would be searching the bars every year on his birthday, hoping his parents would come home so he could blow out his little candles? Yikes.
March 14th came and went until I awoke in the wee hours of St. Patrick’s Day in my swimming pool..I mean my bed, cramping, and in complete denial. I called my Dr. and said “oh, it couldn’t be..maybe I wet the bed” He calmly asked me if I had been wetting the bed…well, no..but I wasn’t having a baby today. He suggested I go to the hospital. “oh, ok..but I’m sure it’s nothing”…
I learned on that incredibly magical day that the miracle of childbirth wasn’t that I was handed a tiny human at the end, but that I had received a simultaneous brain transplant. With McAllistrum’s March filling the room from our DVD player, he was placed in my arms, my Irish angel, beautiful boy.
Today, Brennan is 15 ..and I am proud to say he has never had to look for us on his birthday. We wouldn’t be anywhere else but with this young man. Many have tried to figure him out, stick a label somewhere..he always defies the logic. This half-Irish Mom has lots of labels for him…gentle, kind, smart, funny, loyal and brave. Happy Birthday Sweet B., you changed my life, I’m so glad you did.