We’re going to be friends

 

After the first week or so of the whirlwind of tea and relatives and more tea, the kids and myself realised that we were a bit lonely for our friends.  We went from having people that we could pop in on without a thought and be ourselves totally to, well, not.

As an adult, I rationally knew that friendships come with time but the children and my heart weren’t listening.  There just may have been a rainy day where I could have been found crying in my car in the parking lot of our parish chapel.  I had my cry, dried my eyes, and drove back to my father in law’s home with my chin up.

My father in law was as gracious to provide us with a home for the first three months of our time here as we got settled and to give us time for the home that we were going to be renting to be available.  I loved being able to have that time with him for myself, my husband, and the kids. Even so, there were times that I needed to get away to deal with my emotions.  I needed a girl to hang out with to have the craic with.

One afternoon I was making the dinner at Dad’s home and the kids were outside playing in the field behind us.  Suddenly Molly burst inside excitedly and said “Mum! Mum! MUM!!  The girls I saw playing outside the last day just called over and asked if I could play with them!” I said of course you can but I will have to walk you down to make sure that it is ok with their parents.  Turns out, they were cousins of ourselves.  The girls loved that we share a surname.  The one sister was going to be in Molly’s class and the other was in the class behind.  To say that they all got on like a house on fire would be an understatement. With a sigh of relief I noted that their mum was funny and kind.  Someone that I could have the craic with over a cup of tea.  At the time I didn’t realise that my new friend, Leanne, had a bit of a cuppa problem  I may have to stage a Lyons intervention on her behalf one day. 😉

Through the girls’  friendship and numerous activities ranging from Gaelic football, hip hop (which I initially thought that I was going to have to participate in much to Leanne’s horror or humour?), and tin whistle classes; my husband and my friendship with the girl’s parents has been cemented.  It may have even survived a recent dubious movie choice of mine for our double date. (side note, you may want to take a pass on seeing Zoolander 2, just sayin’)

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This was all well and good for Molly but my Malachy was finding this all a bit girly.  There’s only so much playing with wee princesses that a boy can take.  Thankfully, through the power of Facebook, I connected with one mum who lives down the road from where our rental is who has a son around my Malachy’s age.  We also were fortunate to reunite with a boy who we had met when, well to be honest when his mum and myself were pregnant over 13 years ago.  Those two boys are but a few weeks apart in age.  Once Malachy connected with Odhran and Alexander, this island has not been the same.  Any chance they got, the three of them or two of them depending on the day were together.  There was computer gaming, kayaking, and a bit of farm work as the case may be.

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This gorgeous shot of Malachy and Odhran kayaking was captured by Patrick Higgins photography early in the Fall 2015

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Not a bad life for the kid.  And as it happens, I also got to know and really enjoy the company of Odhran’s mum (I’ve already been friendly with Alexander’s mum for years).  I know that I can depend on them to help out and they know that I am there for them as well.  The foundation of friendships started.  And man, the craic can be mighty!

 

Since the first weeks I’ve made more friends as have the children.  School started and boom instant social life!  I have dear fledging friendships with girls from our church (yeah I’m looking at you Anne!), ones that are cousins (wait, that’s most of the ones here 😉 ), and the ones I met in the initial weeks when we were home in Ireland.  Friendships grow over time and while they are not replacements for my loved ones in Maryland, there’s no doubt that we’re going to be friends …

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No matter where this path may lead my family will always keep me strong and joyful.

 

Lunch duty, baseball, karate, pink hair, and Chinese food: just another Saint Patrick’s day or Kiss me I’m Irish (ish)

If I received a residual check for every time someone said to me “It must be Saint Patrick’s day every day in your home.  I can’t imagine what the actual day is like for you all.”, I would be a very rich woman.  Wouldn’t that be grand? 🙂

The truth of it would bore most people.  We are the parents of 3 children. We don’t go mad on the beer or whisky on Saint Patrick’s day.  To be honest, we didn’t do anything special at all this year.

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Kiss me I’m Irish ish!!

My day started at the elementary school as I had volunteered to help with lunch duty.  The school is in the midst of the dreaded PARCC testing, therefore the need arose for the parents to rise to the occasion and help out. The lunch room was a sea of green as children live in mortal fear of being pinched!! The outfits were from the mundane green t shirt to a girl who had a headband with green white and gold curls tumbling off of it!   My own Molly-Ann was in the mundane category but meh we are Irish she had nothing to prove 😉  She was thrilled to bits to see me at her school .  I received a lot of hugs and kisses while her class was in the lunch room.  It was fun seeing the neighborhood kids that I have known for years.  They really do get excited to see outside people in the middle of their school day.  You have to love the joy that they still have for being in school and greeting people.

From my youngest’s school I was off to my eldest’s first scrimmage baseball game of the season.  I must admit that I had to choke back tears as this is his last season.  How in the world is my baby almost 18 years old and off to university in a few short months??  It was a beautiful sunny, crisp, and rather windy day.  Perfect baseball weather.  It was so good to pick up baseball conversations with mums that we had dropped off last Spring.

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My favorite Warrior!

Time was short so I had to leave early from Tommy’s game and was off to pick up Malachy for his Karate class.  He had his first class last week and is loving it.  The discipline and self confidence he is gaining is already apparent.  Sure I may be running a lot between counties, but it is well worth it.  It helps that his beloved uncle, Dave, is a black belt instructor at the school as well as two of his dearest friends, Luke and Kendrick, are fellow students 🙂

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Malachy is all in black facing his opponent.

While Malachy was practicing martial arts, Molly and I visited with Gayle and Mari.  The girls were a whirlwind of activity.  They skipped from playing Halo to dumpster diving for flowers at the florist at the back of the property!  They were so pleased to present Gayle and myself with their beautiful finds ❤

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Molly-Ann had changed out of her green by this time to be a princess         warrior!

My dear friend, Gayle,  and I took advantage of the girls being otherwise occupied and dyed my hair.  Perhaps I am in the midst of a mid life crisis, but Radiant Orchid highlights seemed like a rather fun idea.  We talked about serious topics, came up with the plan for world peace … that would work if given a chance… but then all was forgotten when Gayle was rinsing out my hair.  Apparently she thought that my chest and shoulder was in desperate need of a shower!!  Goodness, I haven’t laughed that hard in ages.  I am quite sure that her teenaged daughter was questioning our sanity. My g-d it is good to really laugh with a dear friend.  Paybacks a b#Tch, Gayle.  It’s your turn on Thursday!  🙂

She looks a little Too happy!  This was taken before she attacked me with water, I should have recognized that glint in her eyes!!
She looks a little Too happy! This was taken before she attacked me with water, I should have recognized that glint in her eyes!!

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As grand as it was to have the craic with Gayle, all good things come to an end. The hair dying was completed and Malachy was ready to be picked up.  We came home to eat a very traditional Saint Patricks meal of … Chinese take away.  Traditions are wonderful.  Ronan and myself love preparing traditional meals that he grew up with and sharing with our children the customs of our culture.  Be that as it may there are days that our children our more important than our holidays.  Tonight I will make a nice Irish meal with Irish chocolate for desserts.  The day is not as important as is the importance of our family and friends.

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Ronan and I being Ronan and I 😉

They say it’s my birthday

Earlier this week it was my last birthday in the United States.  I was expecting it to be bittersweet but, if I am honest, it was just a joyful day.  A tiring day, but a joyful day.  I started the day by activating my new fitbit that my lovely husband got me for my birthday.  Once that was sorted I started baking my Birthday cake . Yes I do realize the irony: delicious, decadent, irony.

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My lovely husband and my birthday cake and “candle” 🙂 For the record, Ronan is perfectly capable and was willing to make my birthday cake. Apparently I have a control issue. Plus, I was home and I love to bake ❤

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Yes it was delicious and yes it was worth every single extra step that Fitbit will demand of me.  Shamefully, I am in quite the step deficit at the moment.  eek!

It was a very good “last birthday”.  The best part of the night was that I was able to have a small dinner with Ronan, my kids, and my parents.  There may have been some “random dancing” to Push it by Salt N Pepa while my dad and Ronan went out to get dinner.  Isn’t it funny how the most random and silly things truly make a day.  They become memories that I will treasure.  Yes Mom, the kids will probably here every year on my birthday about the year that Grandma Bonnie was “working it” on the dance floor aka my living room.  Birthdays are fun.  When you are blessed enough to have family that are a safe haven, you can cut loose and be silly without fear of being judged.  It is an excuse to be with  family and just laugh and eat cake!  Who doesn’t like these two activities?  if you know someone who doesn’t, I certainly don’t want to know them.

Rather than making me sad, my birthday this year made me excited for birthdays to come.  I have had so many, more than I would like to admit to (!) , good birthdays  in the states and I am sure that the trend of fun birthdays will continue in Ireland. Personally, I am looking forward to baking on my next birthday with Granny,  my Mum Ann, and with Aunt Dee on supervisory and wine supply duty.  I imagine that we will have a grand time.  We might even let the kids and Ronan stop by for a cup of tea.

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Granny’s home in Braade. ❤

You’re my best friends and I will miss you.

Last night I was surrounded by children’s laughter and more than a few squeals.  One of my oldest and dearest friends, Gayle, was over with her three youngest children who happen to be my two youngest life long best mates.  My house may have shaken a few times with the tiny elephants tracking up and down the stairs and running inside and outside.  oh delicious chaos of childhood friends.

Gayle and I hunkered in the living room drinking our coffees and sharing stories, catching up on each others lives. We were effectively using our mom ears, knowing exactly what the young wans were up to while they thought that they were getting away with murder.  Silly kids haven’t caught on yet that moms have a singular power of ALWAYS knowing what their children are up to!

Conversation led to, as they invariably do now a days, to our upcoming move.  Gayle shares in my excitement for the move to Ireland.  the thought of my children being able to experience growing up in Ireland.  Learning a new language, Gaelic, new culture, and the ability to travel throughout Europe rather easily is something to be excited about!  The conversation naturally led to how she has been talking to her children about our move.  Understandably, all of our kids are quite sad about  the fact that in 7 months time they will not live in close proximity to one another.  Gayle has her kids excited about the prospect of saving the pennies so that they can take a grand Irish tour and spend time with us in our new home when we are settled.  It is something for us all to look forward to.

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Of course, after we talked about how our kids are feeling, our eyes had a severe allergy attack.  How does one just leave your friends that you have held tight to your heart since you were just idiot teenagers?  The thought of leaving my best friends, Gayle and Shannon, and my sister, Katie, leaves me with a lump in my throat and a framboise colored nose. *sad but true: I am an ugly crier. no delicate tear drop into the lace hanky for me.  Don’t I wish! *

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Shannon and I, just a few years ago. 😉

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Gayle and I being photobombed by Ronan at the Dam Jam last year

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This may be a bit of a retro shot of my sister and myself. ❤

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The truth of the matter is that I won’t just leave.  They will always be a part of me and they better all have great data plans!  Skype and FaceTime will be our greatest tool to maintain contact.  I pray that they will be able to all come over and visit us in our new home (often please!)  They will ALWAYS be a big part of who I am and who my family are.

The plight of an immigrant is often loneliness.  After the initial excitement I am aware that it will hit us all that we miss our friends.  As the mom of this crew it will be my job to make sure that we are all proactive in getting involved in life in our new home.  School, activities, work: we will find you new friends: be warned people of Donegal, the Sharkeys are coming to meet you!   While our new friends will never replace the ones we have here, they will NOT be of less importance.  We are all excited to meet new friends that our old friends will make room for in our hearts.