Corned Beef and Cabbage – A Celebration

13 Mar

After seeing every bit of meat, cabbage, potatoes and bread devoured, I wonder how my mom would react to my family’s annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  I know she liked corned beef and she ate cabbage, especially stuffed. But, I also know she did not enjoy celebrating holidays that started with St.

I can recall many Februarys when she would remind my father that he should not give her flowers or any gift for Valentine’s Day because it was not “her” holiday. It still puzzles me that, as a Jew, she seemed offended that we were expected to celebrate holidays honoring saints. I can hear her unwavering belief that, “These holidays could not be “Americanized.’” She did not mind that I exchanged cards with other children in school and she did not speak out against other Jews partaking in Valentine’s rituals. But, still, she did ruin some of the February 14th fun.

I wish I had the opportunity to invite her for dinner this week. She would not have to wear green or acknowledge St. Patrick. Having this delicious meal has become a tradition that my husband and children relish. I am definitely drawn in by the holiday hype and Shop Rite specials. I’d love to think that her opposition to such celebrations would have lessened with age and that she, who loved bargains and good food, would enjoy or even applaud my efforts.

I wonder if other motherless women have initiated traditions that their mothers would question. I wonder if we, motherless women, even find some relief knowing that our mothers will not judge these questionable rituals. Or, do others fantasize, as I do, that our mothers would have mellowed and even express approval? Are there things you do (or don’t do) because your mom will not know? If your mom is in your life, what influence does she have on the traditions you do or do not keep?

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