They say everyone is Irish. The Irish people love claiming people as their own. I mean, even Obama is Irish!!
I grew up an Irish/Italian American with a bit of Welsh or Scottish thrown in.
I was in high school when I first became obsessed with the idea of living in Ireland. I looked into the whole foreign exchange student thing a bit but I knew I wanted something more than just a few months as a high school kid over here. I don’t know what it was.
I remember both my grandmothers would talk of being Irish but I am not sure I even knew what that meant. It was enough to spark some desire in me to be here though.
The romantic in me loves believing that I was always going to end up here. That fate had this in store for me long before I knew it myself. I mean it’s all worked out so well here. That’s not to say it’s hasn’t been challenging, but it has all worked out.
What I am still learning all these years later is how truly Irish I was long before I ever stepped foot in Ireland, and how without knowing it, I was raised like that.
Mom was an only child. My grand-mother grew up in NYC with her father, aunts and uncles all straight off the boat from Ireland. To this day I see so many similarities in my mother to what I understand to be an ‘Irish mammy’ here. I like to think it’s because of grandma’s upbringing, how she raised mom and how mom in turn raised us. I am always finding things Mom did in common with Irish Moms:
My mom was the only person I ever saw putting butter AND jelly/jam on toast….
until I moved to Ireland.
Mom always gave us 7-up when I was sick…the Irish are obsessed with this cure-all.
Despite not always going to church we knew to pray to St. Anthony if we ever lost something and when we actually did go to church Mom lit a candle for someone.
We were sent diligently to religious education classes after school all the way up to confirmation. We were Catholic even if we didn’t attend church regularly.
Mom would be relentless and insist that anyone entering the house would eat something.
We ate dinner as a family without fail. When she was alive Sunday dinners were big affairs at Grandma’s.
While mom’s dinner did not always include potatoes a carb was required…if not potatoes then pasta. Like I said we are Irish/Italian American.
We were raised to be good, be nice to others and be a family.
And here I am, all these years later, a new mom in a new home but feeling I know a thing or two about how to be an ‘Irish mammy’ thanks to my very American mom.