After days of considering his options (Pirate? Harry Potter?), tonight is the night for the big reveal. “I know what I want to be for Halloween,” Bug announces at bedtime. A great pause follows, as if the moment requires a final gut-check. Then he tells me. “A leprechaun.”
I grin but hide it. If he knows I am happy, he will walk away and never look back. I nod slowly, forcing a poker face. “Hmm. I guess that could work. How are we going to do it?”
We have been reading a library book which is probably long overdue now because we can’t bear to part with it. The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards is a story about a kind old harpist who goes on a journey with his more ambitious protege. The harpist’s willingness to help one of “the little people” who has landed in a tight spot serves him well in the end. Four-leaf clovers are hidden among the illustrations, so Bug really examines the pages while I read. I like that the story offers up hope that generosity can beat out ruthless self-interest. Bug likes the Irish accents that I mangle as I read.
Bug does not know about my side trip to the Goodwill two weeks ago when I dropped nearly $40 on every green article of clothing I could find. An olive straw hat, a woven tam o’shanter, leggings, a fleece vest, a full-length silk overcoat in mint, a leather handbag, and a few other odds and ends. I came home and hid these items in random spots in our rooms.
“Leprechauns need something. . .” he says to himself. I do not fill in the blank. He opens his closet and gasps as the glimmering coat appears. He touches it. “That’s green,” he says.
“Let’s see what’s in my scarf bin,” I suggest. He discovers the two hats and he turns them around a few time in his hands, looking at them from every angle. In my bag drawer, he digs out the green handbag. He collects all these things on his bedroom floor, unzipping the purse and examining it. A few minutes later, I find him scrounging under his bed. He pulls out a cigar box where he has stashed all his “pirate gold,” an assortment of foreign coins Tee and I have let him squirrel away over the years. He begins to stash the coins in the zippered pockets. Before coming to bed, he picks up a crayon and a brown marker and starts writing on the side of the purse.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m drawing a four-leaf clover,” he tells me. When he is finished, he drapes the bag carefully over the corner of the chair and climbs in next to me.
“What else do leprechauns have?” Bug asks, eyes drooping.
“I don’t know,” I say. “Should we go to the library tomorrow and get a few more books about leprechauns so we can see?”
“Yep,” he says, ooching up close to me. “You can read, Mommy,” he says with a yawn. He opens the book for me.
Long ago, before even your great-great-grandfather was born, there lived in a small village in Ireland a man known to all as Old Pat.
This is one of those moments in which the payoff for the years of effort makes itself known. This is tonight’s truly big reveal: It does not even occur to my son that we will buy a costume. Bug knows in his bones that in our family, we rely on our inspiration and follow it up with imagination. Then, we use our hands.
The part he does not yet know is that we also stash the charms in exactly the right spots for being found when the moment calls for a little luck.