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  • Seven years have passed since I last lived in their home. My parents, good-natured and family-oriented Catholics. Sports fans, avid gardeners, churge-goers. As conservative as I am liberal.

    I suggested the trip to Ireland together as a way to re-connect while seeing the world in a different light. Maybe, I thought, if we go together to experience a new culture, it will help them understand why I care so deeply about protecting the world at large, and all the diverse people in it.

    So my mother planned. In September, we flew. My father drove. And I navigated. If any way we re-connected, it was as a team exploring an unfamiliar land.

    I still like to take my own path. Along the Cliffs of Mohr, pictured here, I walked the entire length, taking tepid steps along the narrow lengths of the cliff, my parents watching with furrowed brows from the wider sections along sturdy ground. And unlike my Mom, I found silence more comforting than discussions on most of the trip. Her repetitive, "What's wrong?" was endearing, but my attempts to reassure her that there just wasn't anything to say did get annoying.

    But my love for them, and for their acceptance of me, is deep. I work for a family organization they personally find to be the devil incarnate, but as their daughter, they support me and my happiness here.

    In such a world of partisan disagreement and heated political debate, could I ask for better friends?
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