Many years ago, this day–St. Patrick’s Day–was a day I looked forward to all year. Of course, that was when I was in my early 20’s… when my friends and I would start our day out at some Irish pub and then continue with the ‘pub crawl’ throughout the day. When I look back, I have no idea how I did that (I am sounding old). Fast forward 15+ years…
The significance of the day always stayed with me, even intensified since having my own children. I was explaining to my kids this morning why they are wearing green and why it is especially important for us to wear green because we are Irish. I could see their eyes sort of zone out when I went into our ancestry, but I figure one day they would feel proud, like I do.
My great, great grandfather, Michael Hankerd and his brother, Dennis, came here from Ireland in the 1830’s. They eventually settled in Jackson, Michigan, on an unoccupied lake. Michael married Margaret who came here as a nanny with another family from Ireland. Michael and Margaret began their family who would eventually make their way down to my grandparents, my mother, and then me.
My favorite part of the story is that even though through the years, bits and pieces of that land were sold off, we are still on that very same lake, though, now it’s completely occupied with year-round families. My grandparents bought a summer place on the lake 60+ years ago that is still in my family to this day. I look forward to going there every summer. That is where my roots are, where my history is, where it began… as my mom tells my children, “Your great, great grandparents swam in this water, in this very spot, too!” When I think of how my children’s children will be swimming there, I am just blown away by the connection of it all.
Everyone has a family history like mine. We all have ancestors who were settlers from another country– who came here with very little, and made a home and a family. We all have roots and we are all bonded together. Even though sometimes family drives us nuts, they are who we are, and where we come from.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!