|In Dublin, in the Rain|
It may just be that I have a screwy imagination, but nothing is ever as I dreamed it would be. The reality is not necessarily bad, it’s just completely different. Before having the children, I envisioned, well, being a perfect parent. Imagine my surprise when I found myself yelling! At a three year old! Just because he wouldn’t stop knocking over his baby brother! And those rosy images of baking with the kids, and happy story times? I never dreamed about the huge mess cake batter makes when it hits the floor, nor did I ever expect to read the exact same poorly written Disney book 10 times in a row, a special request from my toddler.
Other things that were markedly at variance from my envisioning included: my career (amazingly, it does not involve a palatial corner office and a million-dollar book contract), the aging process (supermodel Lauren Hutton, still a beauty in her seventies, had been my role model. Ha!) and the taste of Guinness beer (last week in Dublin, Ireland, Rose and I toured the Guinness Storehouse and I took my first sip; it’s delicious—I had always assumed it was heavy and bitter).
Going to Europe last year was the very first time my daydreams had lived up to reality. Barcelona does indeed have picturesque old, narrow streets, beautiful churches, and restaurants that open for dinner at 8:30 PM. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower is—well, the Eiffel Tower, just as breathtaking as expected. There are even accordion players on the Metro!
Nothing I have ever experienced, however, was the perfect matchup of imagination and truth that Ireland was for me. All my life I have longed to go there, back to the home of my ancestors. In my fantasies, the weather was misty and cool, the grass was deep green and lush, there were gorgeous cliffs plunging down to the ocean. Winding country roads led to cozy pubs, where traditional Irish music was played at night. In the Ireland of my dreams, the people were warm and friendly—and very, very chatty. And I dreamed that I would feel I belonged there.
The reality? The taste of Guinness aside, every dream I had about that country is accurate, from the storybook landscape to the story-telling residents, with their thick brogues and quick wit. The pubs, the weather, the music? Check. For ten magical days, I traveled across Ireland with Rose and Julie, everywhere seeing new things that all seemed very familiar, in my mind. As my girls and I gazed at the site of my great-grandma Sheridan’s house in Granard, I felt perfectly at home, in a place I’d never been. And one evening in Dingle after a sun shower, as a glorious rainbow arched through the sky, I realized that I had found my pot of gold—right there, on a lovely island in the Atlantic Ocean, 5000 miles away from the bed where I had dreamed my Ireland dreams for so very long.
|Dingle, Ireland...End of the Rainbow!|