Dear Mom, Dee and I are headed to the Emerald Isle in July.

You’d think I’d have visited Europe a dozen times by now, but I didn’t. I was waiting. Waiting for the right time. Not intentionally, I just let other things get in the way, like romance, a job, or never having enough money. I still don’t have enough money. But I’m going anyway. 

My childhood dreams were simple; travel by any means available, climb mountains and sail the seas, accompanied by a Motown soundtrack, gift shop trinkets, and other delightful companions, around the world on imaginary missions, sending stories of heroic deeds back home when I wasn’t busy saving the world.

In my teens, I assumed I would backpack across Europe between school years, but I didn’t do that either. When exactly did I stick my head in the sand? It’s hard to pinpoint. But over time, the dazzling possibility of a trip across the sea leached into the junkyard of stuff I forgot to do when I wasn’t looking. 

But that was then, before I said yes to this trip. Before the crushing breakup of my last relationship followed by a pandemic, a five-year trek through the heart of darkness. Thankfully, I came out on the other side honoring the past with greater clarity and compassion for the path I chose over the one I intended. I’m finally ready to go. 

A three-week road trip to tread the steps of our ancestors, intoxicated by the breathtaking landscape, the music, the history, and too much Guinness with new Irish friends.

Grandma Kelly was born in Ireland, which I didn’t know until recently. She died when dad was a child, and sadly, no one ever spoke of her. An ancestry/DNA test rekindled my interest in her life; I inherited mostly English/Irish blood with an ounce of French. A sometimes-sad revelation because I hoped there was more of you in me. Yet, I suspected when I was a teenager, despite wishing my father were different (less comfortable with scotch on the rocks and verbal abuse), that his biology was tattooed all over my internal infrastructure. But genetics are only one piece of the murky puzzle, Sparkie; I take you wherever I roam. 

So, a pilgrimage to dad’s ancestral roots seems a fitting conclusion to the last five years of introspection, with a peace offering, forgiveness, and an emerald-green fresh start. 

Who knows what lies ahead? But I'll be sure to tell you all about it in my letters. You’ll be there somewhere, cheering us on from the wrong side of the road as we negotiate the past, the sheep, the roundabouts, and narrow byways. 

Wish you were here. Much Love.

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