Erin & Méabh at Bay in Clontarf "remembering" Erin's graduation weekend.

Erin & Méabh at Bay in Clontarf “remembering” Erin’s graduation weekend.

This was to be a big weekend for our family. It was the week that Erin’s class graduated from high school in Trumansburg.

But, in the move to Dublin, the school here in Clontarf suggested that both Erin and Brenna stay back one year to ease their transition.

So, instead of graduating with her friends, Erin has one more year of school. And that year is followed by something that seems to make the SATs look about as stressful as day at the beach, the Leaving Cert.

For the past several months Erin’s former classmates have been posting updates about SATs, university visits and acceptance letters.

Then this past weekend the kids she went to school with graduated. While she was at home in Dublin.

Over the past several years, we as a family have tried to a better job celebrating the good stuff, and grieving stuff we’ve lost. On the night before we sold our house in Ithaca, we ordered pizza and sat in our empty living room telling stories about the seven years we spent there. There was a lot of laughing and more than a few tears. But it was a good way to acknowledge that while we were moving ahead, we were also losing something important. It was healing.

Over the past couple of years we’ve had such an amazing time building a new life here. But at times, we still come face to face with something we’ve lost. And as parents, it hurts a lot more when it is your kid’s loss.
While our whole family gave up a lot to move to Dublin to start a new church…To be honest, there’s times when it’s easy to forget the price the kids pay on an ongoing basis.

Imagine living in a brand new culture. There are new people, new places. It’s exciting. But you can recognise there are times when you might want to just sit in your house for a day (or three) and just watch American TV and eat American food.

Liz and I have had the benefit of being able to have some control over how much cultural acclimation we are up for at any given time. Erin and Brenna go to school 5 days a week. Six to eight hours per day. And on each of those days, they are the outsiders…the immigrants. The kids who talk different….dress different…think different.

For both Hannah and Erin, there are times, as you might imagine, when they long to go back to how things were before we moved here. At the same time, they know that the thing they long for, doesn’t exist anymore. Their classes have graduated…their friends have moved on. That thing isn’t there to go back to anymore.

So last night we had another night of celebration and grieving rolled into one. And I got an even bigger picture of what a strong young woman Erin is becoming.