Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! Both Danny and I hail from Irish Catholic roots (with a few other things mixed in there- God Bless America!) and this year it has me thinking a lot about family. This day of wearing green and enjoying festive drinks is about fun – but in some ways it just wasn’t that long ago that Irish descent wasn’t a good thing. Both of our ancestors faced hardships and struggles to create a life for their family because of their roots in Ireland. As we consider our future family I hope to remember the concerns we face are so different thanks to those who came before us – we worry about having it all, balancing life, making our dreams come true. So many who first stepped foot on American soil feared no food, no shelter, and no prospects for life to get any better…. yet they continued forward with the belief it could be possible.
My grandmother on my mom’s side (Ganmommy who has made quite a few appearances around here) grew up in a wealthy Italian home. Her father was a big personality that everyone knew and seems as if Spokane, Washington (where they were from) was his own personal playground. In fact if you go there today there is a statue of him. Needless to say – the dreams they had for their only daughter were likely big. But she fell in love with a Irish sailorman who did not have the money or background that she was accustomed to. Her family tried to persuade her to change her mind – including the threat of taking away her beloved golf game. Poor Irishman don’t have money to join a country club or play golf. But that stubborn lady did in fact marry her Irish sweetheart and has never played a round of golf again.
This was just two generations ago – the Irish weren’t seen as lucky. The Flaherty clan as we know today all began with a decision others thought was a strange choice, but it was the belief in possibility that made my grandparents take a chance. Today’s holiday is honoring a beautiful culture rooted in faith, tradition, and a lot of pride. For me it is also a big reminder of the power of possibility and taking a step towards what may not make sense at first glance or to the outside world but has the power to actually change the course of history. From that start there are two more generations of Catholics and a whole crowd of Irish eyes that are smiling as we take in the bright world around us.
On this 17th of March I want to say a thank you to this beautiful heritage that both Danny and I can call ours. The Irish Catholic upbringing we both identify with has gifted us with an incredible faith, big boisterous families, and a lot of laughs. It is an honor to wear the green and remember how lucky we are to descend from a strong group of people who believe in possibility by following your heart.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!