Sometimes I wonder if Madigan will come to identify with either of her dominant ethnicities, Irish and Korean, or if she will draw more from a regional influence or religious. She came into the world with a pretty hefty backpack as far as the above is concerned. But perhaps she'll have unpacked it before we can impart very much at all. John's cultural identity is one that he has allowed to evolve for him, and I admire him very much for this. To borrow a phrase from Eric Liu's Accidental Asian, my husband grew up assimilated -- he didn't have to adopt a new culture. However, he still had to negotiate the Korean he spoke at home with the English that was spoken in school. He still had to learn the nuances of interacting with non-Koreans. and their parents. He also attended a Korean Seventh-day Adventist church for most of his life. That's a hefty backpack, too.
For me, the line is blurred as to where my Irish heritage begins and my Catholic upbringing ends. One elides into the other. But where beer drinking and mass going are no longer a part of my cultural or religious practice, I consider what I can pass on to Baby Girl that will impart to her who she is in a cultural context. The one jewel that stands out is Irish step dancing. My mother put me in lessons when I was five. I quit when I was fourteen after my parents made it plain that it was time to hang up my soft shoes. I never practiced and they weren't paying for lessons for something I only took half-seriously. But I loved the dance - the costumes, the competition, and most of all the music - and this is something I hope one day to share with Little Miss Shamrocks herself: