live and chase a dream

The Jersey girl was fretting about her packing. With friends consulting, while driving her mother and father near daft, she managed two suitcases and one massive carry-on bag in the end.

She was moving to Galway but in American style.

Her poet father recounted the scene a few days after saying good-bye to her at JFK. Shaking his head with a bit of a laugh, he didn’t hide the mixed emotions of a parent letting a daughter grow into herself.

They had me thinking back to just over twenty years ago when my father dealt with the same, dropping a clueless me at Kennedy for a one-way flight to Dublin to live and chase a dream.

Unlike the Jersey girl, I didn’t care much about clothes. Whatever fit in my uncle’s old Navy sea bag worked.

As a young photojournalist, I needed little more than my passports, cameras and whatever cash I saved from bartending at the Mayo pub on First Street in Hoboken.

True to the passion of that brilliant age of 22, I was open, stupid and full of piss and vinegar. I was an Irish American moving to Dublin when the Celtic Tiger was just a gleam in Ireland’s eye.

Of course, there is often more than just the romance for Ireland involved. The Belfast boyfriend was collecting the Jersey girl at the airport last week.

A couple decades ago a college girl from Tramore, County Waterford was waiting for me in Dublin. We had met in Seaside Heights while she was over on a J-1 visa.

We didn’t end up together but we both ended up happy and well. Besides being her brilliant self, she is a mother now and soon will deal with chicks fleeing the nest.

So the Jersey girl just flew the Atlantic east to new discoveries with too many bags.

What hard learning luxuries we enjoy thanks to our parents.

For all my travels, I never forget about my mother landing at Kennedy alone at 17 years of age with one suitcase, leaving her home place in the west of Ireland because she had to.

The poet father will keep laughing a bit and shaking his head as his Jersey girl enjoys her life adventure, at the moment in Ireland.

Don’t be surprised by what’s next, I warned him. I moved to Dublin for six months, I told him, and ended up eight years in Europe.

My mother has been in New Jersey for more than 50 years, thanks be to God, and she’s still laughing and shaking her head at us.