As my Dad gears up for his sixth round of chemo, I’d like to thank him for my heritage. Namely, my fabulous half-Irishitude.
Back when I was a little kid, St. Patrick’s Day was a major holiday in our household. (Are you catching on to the fact that everything was a major holiday in our household? We’re a tad celebratory.) My Mom would make stellar corned beef and cabbage (no small feat, being an Armenian and all), we’d sit around the table with our cups full of dyed green milk (extremely Irish, that), and listen to songs that alternated between horrifically sad and raucously happy. (It always confused me that the weepy ones were about love and the hilarious ones were occasions where someone had died.)
|You’re right- this is not a St. Patrick’s Day pic.
But I think it’s pretty indicative of how festive we are.
On one special St. Patrick’s Day in high school, we had just finished a great meal (and I was working on my seventh piece of soda bread with raisins) when my Dad decided to call his parents. Now, the Flynn side of the family has always prided itself on its one thousand percent Irishness. (And there are few things fiercer than an Irish family fiercely talking about their Irish heritage.) And, like many families do, they would retell the same stories to hear the same familiar towns and surnames over and over again. So this night was no different- my Dad, having placed his mother on speakerphone, asked her where her specific side of the Callahan/Flynns had hailed from.
And mentioned the expected Counties Kerry and Cork and Galway…
And paused again.
“But my mother-” she answered thoughtfully. “She came from Paris.”
“France?” Someone joked. Because obviously there must be a Paris, Ireland. Because we were NOT French. She assented yes, it was France. And that was that. We couldn’t quite wrap our minds around the fact that this had never before come up. And we were all slightly stunned to be instantly [partially] French. (Except for my mother, whose one thousand percent Armenianitude was not at risk.)
And the next day, my Dad spoke with his brother and found out that he already knew. But no, we weren’t French. Because even though my grandmother’s mother was from Paris, she only lived there with the family who had adopted her.
So after spending the night as a [partial] Frenchwoman, I easily slipped into my new identity as a mostly Irish and Armenian gal with the smidgeniest of Italian somewhere in there. Like in the pinky.
But in honor of this upcoming St. Patrick’s Day- and due to the fact that I wish I were celebrating with my Dad- I’m ready to be fully Irish, tell the girls about Counties Cork and Kerry and Galway (and Paris), and let everyone eat entirely too much Irish soda bread with raisins.
Dad, knock this round of chemo outta the park. Listen to some sad-meaning-happy Irish tunes and rest up until we can toast some green beverages again. I’ll even let you pick.
As long as it’s not green milk.