Dublin, Day 1
The plane flies smoothly over the Atlantic. No turbulence to speak of. The cry of a distraught baby keeps me up throughout the night flight. The pain in my lower back does too, and the pain med brings no relief. Yet nothing diminishes or prepares me for the sudden flutter of excitement I feel at my first sighting of Ireland. The green fields below the clouds come sharply into focus, the distinctive hedges and stone walls marking their boundaries as far as the eye can see. It is early morning here. The flight attendant announces that the first to leave the plane upon landing will be the parents with the crying baby, as it needs medical attention. My daughter Sophia is relieved that we are here at last.
We are to be greeted at the airport by my cousin, whom I have never met before. She is part of a large network of aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces who live in Dublin and other parts of Ireland. My biological mother’s family. I am 56 years old, and I have never met my birth mother. Or any members of my family, for that matter. I have almost no knowledge of who my father is – or was. I have never before stepped foot in Ireland. And yet this is my trip home. This is the story of that homecoming.