Another new ornament to our tree is a gift, from my best friend of 25 years.
Each year, my dear friend sends a care package with lovingly selected gifts for everyone in my family. I know. I lucked out in a BIG way. She’s totally amazing like that!
Last year, I opened up my very small package to reveal this incredible hand painted egg. One side, painted in 24 karat gold, is the Irish Claddagh symbol. The heart held in the hands show love, the hands represent friendship and togetherness, and the crown on the heart symbolizes loyalty. Sweet little shamrocks adorn the spacing between sides, and on the other side is a shortened version of the infamous Gaelic blessing –
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
You may not know, but my grandmother, Julie, came to the US when she was just a teenager, on a boat from Ireland – to care for her sister in Chicago. She met my grandfather in McHenry (she was a nurse) and they bought a farm in Hebron, Illinois where they raised 9 kids! My fondest memories of my grandma were when she would talk to me in Gaelic, and also – waking up to the smell of fresh bread baking when we stayed with them at their home in Florida. I still have relatives in County Cork, Ireland, and it is my dream to visit Ireland one day, if not move there!
I am not the kind of Irish gal that has a lot of green shamrocks around the house, but I do cherish the heritage my grandmother left us and hope one day to be able to explore the area and home she was raised in. That’s what makes this ornament so very, very special to me.