The first thing I saw were fists, tiny little fists raised to the air shaking with anger, confusion, fear, who knows. She doesn’t recall why she raised her fists, partly because it didn’t appear on her favorite TV show, Merlin, or on her Kindle, and partly because she was only seconds old. But I remember it like yesterday as it was the very first time I ever laid eyes on my daughter – ultra sound not withstanding- and she came out with a bang. Her dark red hair was askew, her lungs were in good working order (and haven’t failed since) and those tiny fists were raised to the sky, making one thing abundantly clear – tiny or not, Jackie Marie was ready to take on the world.
And now, she’s just one month shy of 18 years old, a high school senior planning her future. For her, that future includes prom, graduation, fighting with her brother, heading off to college and – if we plan right and save accordingly – her dream trip to Ireland.
That’s where Go with Oh’s dream contest comes into play. I want to make my daughter’s Irish dream trip come true. And if I get to tag along for the ride, so be it!
Despite our last name of Fritz, Jackie and I are Irish on my mother’s side (Kelley) and have the strawberry blonde hair, green eyes and freckles to prove it. We don’t tan so much as pink up and Jackie has more Celtic music on her iPod than pop. She’s in love with all things Anglo Saxon, but not in a creepy Nazi sort of way, and she swoons at even a hint of an Irish brogue in any member of the opposite sex. As for me, when I get mad, I try to cuss like an Irish sailor, but it clashes with my Catholic school upbringing, though somehow I manage. If you prick our fingers, we bleed shamrocks and when I pee, it foams like Guinness. Don’t worry – I’m having that checked out.
Jackie’s dream is to live in Ireland, teach history, marry an Irish man and raise their adopted Chinese children, Ling and Ping O’Riley or whatever his last name may be, in the rolling green hills of the mother country. Yes, you read that right. Someday I may be the only Hoosier with Chinese grandchildren living in Ireland. Jackie’s learning Gaelic, has plastered her school binders with pictures of the Irish countryside, and works at Burger King partly to save for her graduation trip and partly because she’s too young and her mother won’t let her work at the Titled Kilt. Yeah, she’s that committed. And yeah, I know that’s Scottish, but it’s close.
Hence our mother and daughter dream trip to Ireland. Hi, ho, hi, ho, it’s off to Dublin we Go with Oh – we hope!
As a mother, I relish the thought of joining her on that trip for many reasons. From what I’ve seen from pictures, Ireland is stunning. Imagine how amazing it would be to stand on the ramparts of a castle ruin trying to count how many different shades of green one can see. Whether we’re strolling the gardens of Trinity College or ambling down a cobbled stone street in some tiny Irish village or hanging upside down to kiss the Blarney stone, one can bet the surroundings will be stunning.
Plus, it’s dripping with history, a love my bookworm daughter and I both share. I can easily imagine us enoying a gray afternoon in the National Museum of Ireland steeping in Celtic history and Irish lore. After all, there’s Viking Irish history and medieval Irish history and let’s not forget about iron-aged Irish history – so much to discover and so little time. And when the museums are few and far between, we most certainly will stumble into every church that strays near our path. Bring on the incense and candles!
And, there’s that family connection too. How many Kelleys will we find? And will any of them claim us? After all, who doesn’t want to visit their ancestral roots, even if they include more than a wee bit of drunken debauchery?
Which brings me to my next set of reasons for joining her on her trip – parental supervision required. Much like her mother, Jackie has tasted a glass of wine or two and liked it, plus she’ll be 18, of legal age, in a foreign country, smitten by boys with Irish accents and able to go to the bars. Not that I don’t trust her, mind you, but a mother’s got to do what a mother’s got to do, and if that includes Irish bar hopping, sign me up. After all, it sure beats sending her to her room.
So a good part of our mother-daughter dream trip will be an indoctrination into responsible adulthood before I send her off to college. Yes, we will be on vacation and yes, we will be exploring the wonders of Ireland in all their radiant green glory, and yes, we WILL go to the Dublin bars, but it will also be our time to talk, to share, to plan and to practice for that next stage of her life. August will be here before we know it and with it will be college and moving her into the dorm. She’ll be tasting that first sweet taste of real independence. Sure, she’ll still be my baby girl, but she’ll be off on her own. It’s enough to make a mother cry with both joy AND dread.
But to have a dream week with my daughter in Ireland will make that transition so much more bearable from a maternal point of view. It will still be delightfully painful to part with her this fall, but that looming pain of sending my little Peaches off into the real world will be tempered by those sweet green Irish memories of our time together. It will still sting and I will still cry, but that’s life and we’ll always have Ireland.
For more information on Go with Oh or for a chance to win fantastic prizes from their Facebook competition, check out their link at: http://www.gowithoh.com/
And enter the competition at: http://www.gowithoh.com/competitions/blogger-competition/
Life is short, travel is fun and the world is blessed. Get out in it, see it, live it and share it with a loved one.
By Robin Fritz