welcomed as family

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Green, white and gold hung from every perceivable place in the cozy kitchen. Celebratory family members, dressed in their most festive outfits, filled the chairs around the table, the counter tops, and the spaces between. “Do you want a cuppa tea? You can put the kettle on and make it yourself,” Donna greeted me cheerfully. Introductions were made to our three visitors from Germany who were already making themselves at home. The smallest family members, grandchildren, nieces and nephews scooted in and out of the room under feet. The surfaces were covered in crisps, sweets, drinks, and all good things to enjoy together. I reached between two of the teens to wet my “kiss me I’m Irish” rub on tattoo in the sink. All 20 or so of us were in good spirits, enjoying the banter as we reminisced about the St. Patrick’s Day parade earlier in the day and the events of the past weekend.

We had a reason to celebrate. We were all there because Aaron and Randy were visiting. For the first time, Randy’s family was joining her in Aaron’s home. It was a day for loved ones, both Irish and German. Aaron gathered everyone together to give a speech, acknowledging the privilege of having their families together on Paddy’s Day. Calling Randy up, he took her hand and, dropping to one knee, proposed to her in German. This inner-city Dublin boy that I knew had become an international man with an immense capability to love right before my eyes. We all had tears  as we saw the hope of their future. To be there, welcomed as family was absolutely beautiful.

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