Monthly Archives: February 2015

A match made in heaven. Or, if not heaven, then a bar named Game On, outside Fenway Park in Boston.

The fourth and final chance meeting between Liam and I happened in January 2007. He had been living in Boston for a few years with good friends and working in the sales industry. I had recently finished an academic year of grad school in Vermont, followed by a fall semester of student teaching in the Bronx. I agreed to work for a couple of months in Rhode Island for a family as a nanny—something I’d done both summers prior, to make extra money for school.

My good friend, Bridget, a former colleague from my Boston teaching days, still lived and worked in the area. Her twin brothers were co-hosting an 80’s party at a bar in Fenway Park for charity, so I decided to leave Rhode Island for the weekend to spend time with her and her family. Also, Bridget and I had spent a lot of money one Halloween a few years years earlier, purchasing Top Gun “Maverick” and “Goose” costumes from a Cape Cod Army Navy Surplus store. We agreed that we would take advantage of any kind of dress-up party for years to come to make the most of our financial investment. This seemed like a perfect occasion.

Kerry (Liam’s cousin, my college roommate, and the “reason” for Nora’s existence in the first place) had recently moved from Chicago to Boston. Naturally, I called her up when I knew I was going to be in town, and invited her to the 80’s party. She, in turn, invited a couple of her cousins, one of whom included the man who would become my husband.

After mingling and moonwalking for a bit at the party, I looked up from my adult beverage, to see Kerry enter the bar with her fiance (now husband), Prithvi. Soon after that, Liam arrived too, and we all began to small-talk. I spent more time socializing with Kerry, but it seemed just as soon as she arrived, she abruptly left. I think this had something to do with the fact that she and Prithvi had come from a law school Scotch-tasting party, and had had their fill of spirits for the evening.

So, Liam had been abandoned by his cousin, his one real connection to the party, apart from this girl he’d met a few times off and on over the years. He called some friends to come and join him, but was waiting alone on them to arrive.

I was busy flitting about the place and hanging out with friends, but kept looking over to Liam sitting at the bar with his pint of beer. Because I am a well-mannered gal, and because I felt bad that it was my friend who caused Liam’s solitary state, I kept walking over to him to make sure he was doing OK and having fun. We ended up chatting for some time. I can’t tell you about what specifically, because the alcohol consumed that night has interfered with my permanent memory. But, I was keenly aware of a shift that took place as the night wore on. Polite conversation gave way toward flirtatious banter. We could say it was the alcohol at work, but I prefer to think of it as the universe acting on energies that had built up over the years, waiting for just the right moment, to bring two people together. Yeah, definitely. Well, either that, or the whiskey and the rum and the beer. It’s hard to know for sure.


The Maverick flight suit in its heyday, complete with “borrowed” Michael Jackson glove, an accessory I happened to end up adding to my costume as the night wore on (those are Liam’s hands tugging playfully at my sleeve).

At the time, Liam was single and looking for a relationship. I was single and looking to avoid a relationship. I was proud to be wildly free and unattached to anyone or anyplace. In fact, I’d been considering moving abroad to teach English. At the end of the evening I do remember Liam suggesting we get together to hang out or go on a date in the near future. He mentioned a house party he and his roommates were throwing in a week. I told him that I had no idea where I was going to be in a week, or even a month, hinting that I might not be the best candidate to pursue, or with whom to enter into a steady kind of anything.

In the end, Liam was not to be deterred. Instead, he proved to be persistent. And charming. I couldn’t say no to the countless invites that kept coming my way in the months following the party. He took me on a couple of really great dates, right away, one of which included an Irish music concert at the Somerville Theater. I remember stealing a glance at his profile during the show and thinking to myself, “He’s so dreamy.” Only I wouldn’t have actually said that in my head. It’s too 1970s or something. But I could tell early on, that contrary to my plans to remain free and unattached, I was really falling for the guy.

Just three-and-a-half years after that final encounter in the bar, we got hitched. And here we are, nearly five years into a pretty solid and amazing marriage, with two beautiful daughters, and a son on the way. So, whoever is responsible—Kerry, Bridget, the universe, distilleries and/or breweries—I’m grateful, for sure.


Me and the hubs. Right before we got married.


The love story continues: Our paths cross again.

It should be noted that the third time our lives intersected, could quite possibly have been the fourth or fifth. We are likely to never know for sure, but Liam and I both realized, after we’d been dating for several months, that we lived abroad in Ireland at the same time. This would have been the spring of 2001. Liam spent a year studying in Dublin when he was a junior in college. I spent several months living and working in Galway, on the west coast.

I spent my twenty-third birthday in Dublin (Liam celebrated an epic twenty-first there as well, a month earlier). Could we have passed one another on the street? Spent time in the same pub, sitting across the room from one another without knowing? It’s unlikely, I know, but not impossible. I’ll forever hunt through old photos looking for proof. If nothing else, it’s a nice shared connection we have. Oh, and also, we both played the trumpet for many years.

The next definite time we came face-to-face was Easter weekend 2002. I had been living and teaching in Boston at the time and was unable to make the trip home to Pennsylvania to visit family. So, my college roommate—yup, Kerry again—who was living in Chicago at the time, but hails from Western Massachusetts, invited me to spend the weekend with her and her family.

Who should happen to show up to the holiday celebration, but—cousin Liam! And, I actually remember sharing a beer with him and his siblings, as well as with Kerry and her older sister, on the outside deck after church. I remember sunshine and laughter and shared talk of their grandmother, and favorite memories they had of spending time with her.

I remember also, buying a last minute outfit for the occasion: a black, floral skirt, and a hideous Pepto-Bismol pink, rayon cardigan to go along with it. Looking back now I think: Ugh. Either I had really bad taste, or I just gave in to an impulse buy. Either way, that outfit is not how I want to remember making a possible impression on my future husband.

What was he to think of this young woman? This close friend of his cousin, who, while not toting sticks and strange knit dolls, on her way to a raging party, looked like an Easter egg explosion in pastel pink, never a color I’d choose to wear today.

Somehow, after three brief meetings, impressions of a positive nature must have formed in our collective hearts and minds, because by the fourth and final chance meeting, we were ready to finally begin a relationship that consisted of more than just brief encounters every couple of years.

It goes without saying I’m so glad we did.

Can you believe this springlike weather we’re having? And other causes for celebration.

After taking a brief break from writing to allow for copious amounts of vomiting, mixed with a twenty-four-hour headache, no appetite, bouts of dehydration, major Braxton-Hicks contractions, Tuesday morning heartburn, painful stomach cramping, chills, body aches, loads of sleep/catnapping/couch-sitting, extreme exhaustion/breathlessness, and general lousiness of physical and emotional condition, I am back!

Today’s post is dedicated to all the blessings I am happy to count right now after suffering miserably for the past forty-eight hours.

1. I’m feeling mostly human again, despite being utterly exhausted, and, well, you know, apart from the whole alien growing inside my belly thing.

2. When I stepped outside into the late afternoon/early evening weather today, it felt like springtime to my frozen soul! I unzipped my jacket and even let the windows in the car creep down just a bit. This feels nearly like flip flop weather, I thought to myself. It must be almost fifty degrees! I checked my weather app and saw it was, in fact, just 31 degrees, but “feels like” 23. Hmmm…goes to show what a little perspective can do. At least it wasn’t minus anything!

3. I have a fresh new haircut and newly painted toes. Yay for pampering!

4. The midwife at my appointment this evening assured me that the baby she felt, seemingly threatening to drop out of my body any day now, was not an enormous one, and in fact, might shape up to be a 7.5-pounder, at the rate he’s growing. While I recognize this laying on of hands by a midwife is not an exact science, this mama, who’s already pushed out a 9-pounder and an almost-9-pounder was relieved to hear the prediction!

5. And last, but certainly, not least, is the fact that when I came home this evening, I saw no evidence of mice despite random food items being left strewn about the house for days. Liam did a phenomenal job of holding down the fort with the girls the past two days, while I lay about moaning and sighing, but let’s face it, we were all in basic survival mode. Half-eaten bowls of cereal, random fruit peels, half-empty glasses of milk and juice, and lots of crumbs of I-don’t-even-know-what are littered about the various counters and tabletops in our home. Now that I am back to feeling like Supermom again, I will be ready to tackle the mess anew tomorrow. Or the next day. Or even surely, the day after that.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post: a continuation of the love story that began a few days ago, yet was so rudely interrupted by violent illness.

The second time I encountered my husband…

…I was twenty-one years old, a senior in college. He was nineteen, a sophomore in college in New York.

This time when he came to visit his cousin, Kerry, still my roommate, he drove out with a friend and his friend’s father.

I’m ashamed to say I have basically no recollection of Liam’s being on campus that weekend. However, I do remember fondly some of the memories he has of the time.

He remembers walking from our off-campus apartment early Saturday morning of the football game to a tailgate party. He says for most of the walk I drug along beside me a six-foot-long stick, speaking loudly as I did so, while every now and then inserting the stick into the street and tempting drivers to run parts of it over. Sad to say, this sounds about right according to my memory.

He also recalls that our group of friends had in our possession that day, a small, purple and pink hand-knitted, voodoo type doll, which we passed off to each other from time to time. He found this to be a bit odd, I think.

The doll’s name was Lucy, and she belonged to my friend, Brigid, who I think had acquired her in Ireland from a loony nun in some kind of monastery. The details on this are not clear.

What is clear, however, is that Lucy was our mascot. We brought her creepy self with us wherever we went and she featured in many of our photo ops. I wonder where she is today. Lucy would love some selfie action, I think.

How Liam could have thought we were anything but absurd, wildly immature, and totally silly is beyond me.

I wonder, if someone would have asked him then, tagging along in the street behind some half-witted, hungover, co-ed, wielding a long stick, if he could imagine marrying that girl, what he would have said. How about: You’ve got to be kidding, right?

IMG_2766A few friends with some cheap beers, and a dive-photo-bombing Lucy doll in the background.

The first time I met my husband.

This morning I happened to be admiring a baby shower gift that belongs to Nora. It is a photo mat on which many friends and relatives signed their names and wrote special words of blessing. One note caught my eye; it was written by one of my closest friends, Kerry. It said: Always remember, if it weren’t for me, you would have never been born.

After I chuckled to myself, I got to wondering: would Liam and I still have met, crossed paths, had it not been for Kerry? Or Bridget, even, another close friend whose brothers’ 80’s party played a monumental part in our eventually getting together?

The first time I met my husband I was nineteen years old, a sophomore in college. He was seventeen, a junior in high school. He flew out to South Bend, Indiana, to visit his cousin, Kerry, who also happened to be my roommate, and to take in a Fighting Irish football game.

Memories from this time for both of us are pretty hazy. In fact, the only thing that sticks out for me, is how impressed I was that Liam managed to remove (ahem, steal) an ornament from a decorative car hood that was mounted on the wall of the local dive bar which we used to frequent, as they allowed seriously bad fake IDs as proof of legal drinking age. As a fellow spontaneous kleptomaniac of random trinkets, that I assured myself nobody would ever miss, I was enormously pleased by this grab. However, I had a serious boyfriend at the time, and was not looking for a new love interest.

The only thing Liam remembers from this trip is being impressed by our dorm room. Kerry and I had our beds lofted (our dads helped construct them so), so a couch and our desks could fit underneath, maximizing our space potential. Apparently, he’d never seen this done before, and thought it was pretty darn cool. Also, he remembers having to spend the night in our guy friends’ dorm room since our school did not allow for the spending of overnight guests of the opposite sex. A little awkward, perhaps?

He would come back to visit Kerry one more time during our last year at Notre Dame. But that’s a story for tomorrow…


Photographic proof that we’ve known one another almost 20 years. How is this possible? I am in the front next to the woman wearing the hat. Liam is the one with sideburns in the red and blue jacket.

Our children: Mini versions of us…or not?

As we wait these last weeks for our boy to arrive, I find I become consumed with excitement, thinking about how he will fit into our family. How his personality and behaviors may be similar to or different from the girls. What he’ll look like and whom he’ll resemble.

When Nora was born many remarked that she was the spitting image of me when I was a baby. One friend later said, “Look! A blond you!” Now that she’s a bit older I still see the resemblance, but I notice more of Liam in her physical appearance too. She’s got the same chubby, round cheeks he had as a boy, and a very slight dimple in her chin right where his is. She’s a pretty good mix of us both, I think. She definitely has her mother’s personality, though.

Frances, on the other hand. Well, we’ve never much seen a shared likeness with her, at least physically (she’s got Liam’s peaceful and easygoing spirit). Liam and I both have dark hair and eyes. Franny’s blond with bright blue eyes. In fact, people say she looks more like Liam’s brother. These kinds of statements are always sure to bring on awkward pauses and comments, which we of course just love.

My sister sent me the picture below via text yesterday with a note: This could be Nora and Frances. The picture is one that was taken of the two of us, at roughly the same ages as the girls, probably circa 1981. Seems Liam’s sibling isn’t the only one who shares a likeness with our youngest. If you put some blue eyes on my baby sister, she’d look like our girl too!


Whether they resemble us or not, they’re sure beautiful, our girls. Even if there’s something totally gone wrong with their thin, straw-like and brittle hair. They walk around with bed-head most of the day despite numerous attempts to comb out knots and nests in which small creatures very well could be living. But I’ll save that post for another day.

Can’t wait to meet the boy and see whom he favors. Me? His father? His grandparents? The mailman? That joke just never gets old.