January 31, 2014

patty silverman is the mother of my best friend leslie and I as explained in leslie’s grey t-shirt post, I have a very long and lovely history with this amazing woman. when my parents and I first moved to fayetteville, a small village outside of syracuse, patty took notice of us right away as we were moving into our new house. our street was very small and she only lived 7 houses away – plus she saw me and guessed correctly that I was close to leslie’s age (in fact, we are only 10 days apart). immediately, patty and my mom began planning play dates and were determined that we would be best friends. initially, les and I weren’t playing along.. either with our mother’s plans or with each other. we despised each other..until… they didn’t force us to spend time together and then that’s all we wanted. because both of my parents worked in downtown syracuse and patty was an art teacher who worked out of home, I always went to the silverman’s house after school until my parents got home. if I was sick and had to miss school, it was patty who made me chicken soup and took care of me. during afternoons after school, leslie, her sister shelley and I would often be in the art room or playing in the back yard as patty made us a snack or helped us with whatever little homework we may have had. but we all knew that there was a sacred hour – an hour that was for patty and not to be messed with – and that was when donahue was on. it was understood that we would be quiet (as quiet as 3 little girls could be) and let her have her 60 minutes of blissful peace and phil. it’s funny how you remember the smallest and seemingly silliest things.. and how they become can become so important and life changing. one afternoon my dad stopped by their house and said that he wanted to take me out for ice cream, which I guess wasn’t too unusual but I don’t have any recollection of it happening before that day. after we each got a cone, he told me that he was leaving – he was a salesman, he left all the time. he told me that he would still see me all of the time.. well of course he would. he told me that nothing would change between the two of us… why would it? he was going on a business trip. right? so after about a 20 minute drive, he dropped me back off at the silverman’s. I walked in smack dab in the middle of donahue and patty turned to me to ask how ice cream was – I don’t remember what I said, all I remember is that she stood up, walked across the room and turned off the television and turned to look at me with tears in her eyes. I knew then, at that moment, that something really big and something pretty bad had just happened and I just stood there, frozen, as she wrapped me up in her arms. after my parent’s divorce, my mother and I would move and leslie and I would go to different schools. I would get older and be able to make my own chicken soup when I was home sick, but my love for patty never lessened. once leslie and I moved out to boulder, patty and her husband dick would come out to visit and it was like having my parents there – I’ve never been afraid to tell her anything.. ever. I always knew that she was there, even at a distance – keeping her eye on me and her heart with me. when my mom got diagnosed, les called to tell her mom and patty called me immediately. she was one of the few people that I let my guard down with during this time.. voicing my fears about my mother’s cancer, my confusion and my rage. at the end of our conversation she said ‘I’m always here.. I am your jewish mother after all.’ and the title has stuck since. something in that small statement brought me such sudden peace due to it’s accuracy. because she is.. I don’t know a life without her. in leslie she created my beautiful, talented and amazing best friend. she’s a survivor who has faced cancer head on several times and has won. she is my soft place to fall and has been since the day we met next to a moving van in upstate new york. I love you and am grateful for you.. more than words can ever say.