There are things in our lives we don't devote a lot of thought to, things that we accept without question, and that have just always seemed to be. When we suddenly realize why those things are true about us or why they happened we may find ourselves surprised because we simply didn't realize where these things began or why. This occurred to me recently, and if you indulge me, dear friends, I'll explain.
I've known for a long time that I was drawn to a certain kind of man. Men and boys with accents, particularly from England or Ireland, always enchanted me. I married a Canadian born but half-Irish-heritage man named "Patrick Sean" (does it get more Irish?). And when I was in Ireland recently I realized that I found Irish men the most charming creatures on earth and I could talk to one (any of them, really) for hours. If that Irish man happened to have that lilting accent combined with dark wavy hair (again, like my husband, although he lacks the accent) then the world seemed practically perfect. The funny thing is I had no idea why this was, or how this came to be true for me. Shortly after arriving back in Canada I was flipping through one of my parents' old photo albums (I've become the unofficial family archivist), and I found a photo of someone I hadn't thought of in, well, decades, really. That moment it hit me like a lightning bolt. This was the reason I had this unexplainable attraction to these men. This was the genesis of it all. This thing was named Irish Mike.
That wasn't really his name, of course. When he came into our circle of family friends, though, there was already a Mike present and in order to distinguish between them he became Irish Mike. I don't recall how old I was when my sister brought him home, and I don't really recall many details. I do recall, though, that I was old enough to have noticed boys (being considered precocious this could have been any time after I was 8) and that it was before I really started dating. I also recall that he had an effect on me that I did not understand at the time but now realize set in motion a lifelong pattern. Now, to be clear Mike was much older than I and did nothing to encourage this. I imagine he didn't have any idea, and if he did probably either found it cute or weird that this little girl followed him around staring at him and waiting for him to speak so she could hear his accent. Mike was simply one of those friends my sisters brought home who spent time with my family and quickly became a welcome guest.
In current parlance I would say Irish Mike "rocked my world". I thought he was fascinating, from his accent to his dark wavy hair to the fact he was from this exotic place called Ireland. I imagine I tried to hide my crush, and hope I was successful, but never being the most subtle person imagine I did not succeed. It was innocent, of course, and harmless...and I imprinted on Irish Mike like a duckling does to it's mother. What amazes me now is that I blithely went about my life never noticing that almost all the men I truly found attractive had accents, Irish heritage, or dark wavy hair (or some combination of the three). What amazes me even more is that it's taken me thirty years to figure out where this began and why. When I realized it that day, holding that old photo in my hand, it was like a puzzle you've been working on for years finally coming together. It was like finding that final piece and saying "aha - it all makes sense now". It was the answer to a question I didn't even know I'd been asking, but finding it explained so many things and tied together so many loose threads in my life.
So, now I look at my young daughter, and wonder if she will meet someone like Irish Mike some day, or if she already has. Will she imprint on a man like I did and will he become the template by which future men are judged? It worked out well for me, no doubt, as I hope it does for her should it happen. For me, though, discovering where and why this all began may have taken many years, but like all long trips the destination was worth the journey. I look at the photo of me above and wish I could tell that little girl to pay more attention and to write these things down so they don't leap out at her in thirty years - but of course, here we are, that little girl and I, and you know, we've managed okay even without that advice. And perhaps if she followed that advice I wouldn't have had the joy of discovering this hidden truth about myself, and the pleasure of sharing it with you, my friends.