St. Patrick's Day 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the O'Haras! It's not such a big deal around here anymore, for a couple of reasons. 1 - I don't have any cute kids around anymore that want to dress up in green celebrate being Irish. And, 2 - It's a drinking holiday and I'm the only one around here who drinks.

Shannon did love a good reason to wear something goofy and she was proud of her very Irish name. She was always all in for St. Patrick's Day.

Erin was so little when Shannon got sick. Now that Erin is growing up, I sometimes forget that. I think of Erin as she is now and forget how little she was then. We still deal with the loss of Shannon every day, so it's easy to only think present tense.

When I meet a 10-year-old and see how young they are, it reminds me that Erin had to comprehend so much when she was so little. I wonder all the ways that affected her... I wonder how it will continue to affect her for the rest of her life.

Something reminded us of Shannon the other day, and Dan texted Erin about it. Erin texted back "I've been thinking about Shaner a lot lately". 

Erin is making new friends and developing close relationships quickly, the way you do in college when you live and play in close quarters. She is in charge of her life narrative now, in a way that she couldn't be when she lived here with us in a town where it seemed everyone knew about her dead sister. So, she chooses where and when to share that piece of her, that part of her story. 

And she does choose to share it. Erin asked me to bring a copy of Determined to Matter when we come to visit as she wants to give it to one of her friends. 

We've had a couple of chances to share the book recently. I gave it to a new acquaintance who was interested. Dan gave it to a friend facing a difficult diagnosis. Both responded with heartfelt thanks for sharing our story. 

It all feels so long ago sometimes. Shannon's friends are turning 21 and finishing their junior year of college. We will be watching them graduate, get married, have children, etc. for many years to come.

Erin is in the grind of winter quarter finals this week. Next week she and her new pals are headed for some fun in the sun, staying with Aunt Mary in Florida. A cheap spring break option for the college kids, thanks to having relatives in warm climates. Once she's back at school, then it's our turn to see her.

I'm really looking forward to our trip to see Erin. This has been a long stretch for this mama.  We'll get to celebrate her birthday and treat her and her new found friends to a birthday dinner. Erin will be 18... she's finally going to be an adult!

I wish Shannon was around to see Erin grow up. I know she'd be so proud of her little sister. And I'm sure the reverse would be true, too.