Growing up, wasn’t it amazing when your favorite shows came together for a “crossover” episode? One of my favorite crossover episodes was the Jimmy Timmy Power Hour series where the cartoons Jimmy Neutron and the Fairly Oddparents came together. This will always be a classic to me, but now I have a new favorite episode to add to my list: the one where my parents came to visit me in Ireland.
It’s funny to look back and think about the last time I saw my parents: It was at the Sport Changes Life launch luncheon in NYC last August. When my parents walked me out to the bus, they both gave me the biggest hugs. I remember my Mom taking a picture of Makenzie and me right before we boarded the bus for the airport. Mak was still a stranger to me at that point which is absolutely crazy to think about right now! After saying goodbye, I hopped on the bus to start the trip to Ireland to begin a new chapter in my life. Looking back, it didn’t feel as if the moment was real. Think about it… I just had lunch with 23 perfect strangers from all over the United States and then we were all heading to JFK to board a plane together to move over 3,000 miles away from home! Though the idea of it does seem a bit crazy now, I never second guessed getting on that bus and neither did my parents. They both knew this was going to be my next great adventure in life.
When my parents pulled into my driveway in Letterkenny, I could not believe it. My parents? In Letterkenny? Who would have ever guessed this would happen! For the next 7 days, we traveled all over Ireland together. While I could write a chapter about each place we visited, here’s a short list of the few places that we covered: Giants Causeway; Malin Head; the Dark Hedges; Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny Castle, King John’s Castle, and the Cliffs of Moher. We drove through countless small towns and spent nights in bigger cities like Galway and Limerick. Being able to tour around Ireland with my parents was amazing – it truly proves that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, as long as you’re with the people you love. Having the chance to see all of these different places with my parents made them that more beautiful.
I’m sitting in my bedroom in Albany reflecting on our adventures and I can’t help but smile. I have been so fortunate over the last 4+ months. Without the Sport Changes Life organization and Rory Foundation, I wouldn’t have been able to create these lifelong memories with my parents. Thanks to these organizations, I’ll be able to tell my kids about “the time I had drove all over Ireland with my parents” and, hopefully, I’ll be able to take them there and show them why I fell in love with this beautiful country.
Even though I’m living in a different country, the distance from home never seemed that far. I went to college four hours away from home in America so being away during the school year was normal for me. To this day, I try to call/Facetime my parents at least once a week if not more. To all the kids reading this, remember to always call your parents and see how they are. It may feel like time is passing by and you’re the only one getting older, but they are too. Your parents will want to hear from you and see how you are doing. Trust me, after you’ve been away from home, getting to hear your parents’ voices will become one of your favorite sounds. My Mom’s and Dad’s voices and laughs are two of mine.