I’m half Irish. My mom’s family is full-on Irish – my great-great-grandparents came from County Cork and Dublin and somehow, the family ended up in Illinois. My grandpa came from a family of eight kids and my grandma came from a family of eleven kids. Our original name was “O’Herlihy” but as with many other immigrant names, it was Americanized when they got here.
My mom is the oldest of five kids – three sisters and a brother. So needless to say, between my mom’s 17 aunts and uncles and all of their kids, plus my mom and her sisters and brothers, I’m hard pressed to go anywhere in my parents’ hometown without running into someone I’m related to or who knows someone in my family. We’re EVERYWHERE. One of us could be sitting next to you RIGHT NOW. Ooooohhhh.Spooky. Ha.
Anyway. My parents are the only ones from their families to leave their hometown. As a result, I didn’t grow up with my multitude of cousins, which I always thought was kind of a bummer. I always had a blast when we visited though, because let’s just say it – my family is a RIOT. Funny and fun and loud and obnoxious – there isn’t an occasion when things are quiet and “subdued” isn’t generally in our vocabulary. We'll out-loud, out-funny, out-wit you and if you don't like it, well, we'll kick your ass.
I have 13 cousins and for some weird and unexplained reason, we were pretty much all born in pairs. Except for two singles, every one of us has a cousin who is the same age. Mine is my cousin Josh – I’m older than him by exactly two months, and even though we obviously didn’t grow up together, we ended up being close. When we started college, it was the advent of email and IM, and so we’d go to our schools’ computer labs at a specific time and talk most nights. Eventually we got tired of that and started talking on the phone all the time – until my uncle got Josh’s $400 phone bill. He made us cut it down a little. We stayed close and we still talk on the phone, just not as much as we used to. We’ve drunk dialed each other, argued, listened to the other one cry, laughed our asses off and told the other one we loved them.
I love my mom’s family and it makes me happy that even though I missed out on a lot, I have Josh and our memories. So the pictures. The first one is of my mom, my grandparents and some of my aunts and uncles. The second one is Josh and I when we were probably eight. I have a huge shelf of old pictures of my family, and when I was framing these, I noticed something funny. If you look in the black and white picture at the expression on our parents’ faces, and then look at the picture of us and the expressions on OUR faces, well, you see whose kid belongs to who.
The last picture is Josh and I a couple of years ago when he came to visit me – we were out to dinner with my parents and, shocker, we’re laughing.
I love my big family and I love that I have so much history – it’s cool to know where I came from and really, what’s cooler than being IRISH? Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!