Kiss Me, I Used to Be Irish
Oh, I don’t mean I’m from Ireland. Let me ‘splain it to you. Long ago, my mom and dad divorced after a relatively brief marriage. I spent very little of my time with my dad until I was about seven, and at that point we moved away and my dad and I lost touch. It was hurtful at the time, but at seven I didn’t really understand adult behavior.
I asked questions about my father over the next decade, including what my family heritage was on my dad’s side . My mother’s answer was that I was Irish on that side. My maiden name was prevalent in County Cork, and I have red hair and blue eyes, which makes me look typically Irish (as we understood it). So for the longest time, I was Irish.
Then I met up with my dad, thirty-four years later. And we had a talk. Turns out, I’m French-Canadian on that side, not Irish. Seven generations of French-Canadian, dating back to the sixteenth century in France. My dad’s family spoke French at home, not Gaelic. I’ve never been Irish. So all those years of wearing “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirts were for naught. I was a fraud.
I was a little lost, heritage wise, for a while, and my dad passed away. But then I began to embrace my French-Canadian roots, and now I’ve lived in Canada twice as well. According to my bloodlines, we should have moved to Montreal, but Calgary is fine, and we hope to make it permanent. So after several generations of living in the US, my family tree leads me back to my “homeland.”
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all the Irish out there, and to those who wanna be Irish, at least for one day per year. Oh, and I still wear green and drink Guinness on Saint Patrick’s Day. After all, I used to be Irish.