What Does Green Mean?


As a kid, wearing green on St. Patrick’s day seems as important as turning in an assignment on time, if not more important for fear of being pinched at any given moment. Yet as an adult, wearing green holds less stakes. It’s more a way to be festive than a tactic to outrun pinch-happy peers. 

My mom always loved to celebrate holidays. In her last year of life, as her illness progressed, she was especially adamant about being involved in as many celebrations and events as she could. This particular St. Patrick’s day, her friends were throwing a party. My dad agreed they could stop by for a few minutes, for as long as she felt good.

To be in the spirit of the holiday, she wanted a green shirt to wear, but did not have one in her closet. At the time there was no online shopping, so we took a ride to a nearby strip mall that had a large department store. Walking took Mom a lot of energy so I parked in a handicap parking spot and ran in while she waited in the car. 

I never thought finding a green shirt would be so important to me, but as I walked into the store’s large entrance doors and began looking for the women's clothing section, I prayed for any speck of green. I weaved in and out of racks and aisles, my chest tightening as the minutes passed. I thought of Mom waiting in the car, restless and tired. 

Finally, way in the back of the store, I found a few green shirts. Suddenly I realized I didn’t know what size to choose, since Mom had been steadily losing weight. I grabbed three different sizes and styles and zoomed through the checkout counter. 

Mom’s face lit up when I settled back into the car. The choices made her feel like she’d gone shopping herself and helped her feel in control of her life. 

Sometimes I think back of that day and giggle at how silly I must have looked, scanning those aisles with a look of panic—all for a green shirt! But even simple traditions can carry an abundance of meaning, bringing cherished memories and joy to you and your loved ones!