Monday, September 13, 2010

'May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.'

Someone once told me 'We are the same people we were at age six.' This is quite a statement to make considering the numerous changes in the years leading to adulthood...peer pressures, responsibilities, heartaches, freedoms, education, loss...

However, I have come to believe in recent years that this idea that the foundation that has been set for us does impact the path we choose to take in adulthood. 

Personally, my childhood experiences speak volumes of the person I am growing into today. Specifically, my most significant childhood memories revolve around the family reunions of my father's side -in particular, the birthday roasts, Irish singing, and political debating that went on through the night.  
Though it is difficult to decipher the several parties we had as they all seem to mesh together into one, let me set the scene for you as if it was a single night... 

A large, white tent canopy with hundreds of amber stringed lights stood between my immediate family, my dad's six brothers and sister, a dozen of my closest cousins and a perfectly star-filled summer night sky. Though the daytime festivities of eating and swimming equaled the fun for the rest of the kids, I was more excited about the nighttime when I got to sit and laugh at the incredible stories of my aunt's and uncles' childhood, usually in a prepared roast format in time for one of their milestone birthdays. 

Irish music would always follow -traditional ballads which included hilarious stories of their own -songs depicting times of humor, death, and a lot of whiskey.  

A staple ballad of these particular nights...
(and doubles as the name of my dog, Finnegan).
Then would ultimately come political discussion...let me rephrase that - blatant fighting over current events of the time...most of which mean nothing to us now. 

And I couldn't have been happier to be involved. 

I look back at that time in joy, admiration for their gift of storytelling, and in enormous gratitude for letting me into their world...where I learned about my beautiful Irish heritage, my ever-growing passion for politics, and the stories of struggle my parents endured but never passed on to my brother, sister, and me. 

I continue to appreciate the importance of this time in my life everyday. 

Neary Irish Hooley 2009

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