Wednesday, April 30, 2008

For the day you stood up

How friggin’ appropriate is this? Especially now. The day I stood up for me, for my needs, wants, and desires. I stood up and am becoming myself again. I stood up and said, “No, this is unacceptable. This is not okay.”

It’s a tough road ahead, that’s for damn sure. But I’m strong. I can handle it. (Granted, I still need those moments to go sit in the corner, rock back and forth and cry, but who doesn’t?)

Matt and Frannie have always been in my life. I haven’t heard from Matt in over a year – since Auntie Fran died. This morning I see a Houston area code pop up on my phone, and since I don’t recognize the number I let it go to voice mail. After the phone vibrates, letting me know I have a message, I check it. Lo and behold, it’s Matt asking me to call him. He had been going through some of Frannie’s things shortly before Passover and came across a ring my mom had given to her on her graduation day.

The past few weeks he’s been going back and forth over what to do with this ring: keep it? Give it to Mara, his daughter? When we were on the phone he told me, “You know, I think the best place for this ring is with you. I think it would be appropriate.” Cue the waterworks. After taking a semi-deep breath (can’t show emotion! Must not show feeling!) I said, “Thank you. That would mean a lot to me.” And it does. Much more than I can ever put into words.

The kicker? She had it inscribed – “For the day you stood up.”


Mom was just a few years older than Frannie when they met. How did they meet? Oddly enough, through a help wanted ad. Auntie Fran’s mother had recently passed away and her father couldn’t keep up with working, maintaining the house, and raising two children on his own. Even though Frannie was capable of doing the housework and minding her younger brother, I think her father wanted her to concentrate on her school. So, he placed an ad in the paper looking for someone to help around the house.

From what I’ve been told, Mom read the ad and thought that it sounded like a fun job to have. So she responded. When they opened the door to my mom, aged 18 or 19, they saw a semi-hippie standing in penny-loafers (no socks), Levi’s, and a peasant blouse. It was the wearing of no socks that started their friendship.

From that point forward, they were always together. If they weren’t together, or were separated by school and life, they spoke weekly. Their relationship reminds me of some of the relationships I have with my friends, and for that I am thankful.

I haven’t fully stood up yet. But I’m getting there and I know that if I waiver or wobble on my way up, “my girls” will be there to lend a steadying hand. And behind them? The ghosts of friendships past will be sending their own brand of silent support.

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