Except for the Kaminski children, you do not often read words here about my husband’s family. I don’t really write very specifically about Dan because I think it would probably cause problems between us; if I put things in writing about our relationship a)he would have a place to check back and try and prove me wrong and b)I’m not ever wrong but I don’t want to make him feel bad about it, because in addition to being right I am also an understanding soul. The reason you don’t hear about the rest of the Kaminski and Barry family is not because they are unloved by me or because they are crazy in-laws or because they are in the witness protection program; it isn’t even because they’ve asked me not to talk about them. It is because I don’t think they’d like it; unlike my boundary-less, attention seeking media-hound family (oh wait, maybe that’s only me), as a group they don’t seem to feel the need to share every thought that goes through their heads with the world at large via personal blogs and facebook. Okay, so maybe they are a little weird....
Today I am breaking my own rules to talk about Patti. Patti is my mother in law but before she was that she was my friend. For those that don’t know Dan and I well, a little background would be helpful. I grew up knowing my mom’s friends well. My mom was a good friend to have and for most of my life she had the same friends. When I was in my twenties she started hanging out with the group, with the exception of my mom, the rest of the group had been friends for years. There were six including my mom and Patti. I think my mom and Patti became close bonding over their similarly aged (read, similarly pain in the ass) children; Laurie and Dan were born in 1970 and 1972, Erin and I were born in 1971 and 1973. Every year a different member hosts the group Christmas party. I have a healthy sense of family obligation and every year I brought myself and my son to the party because my mom wanted to show us off. My mom is dead so now I get to re-write history; my mom didn’t want to show me off, she wanted to show off her grandson and get a bonus designated driver, but there is no one to argue with me, so let’s go with she wanted to show us off. In 1999 the party was at Patti’s house, and she wrangled her kids into attending. Dan and I met and fell in love at first sight. Okay, I’m re-writing history again, honestly, I thought he’d be fun to make out with, he liked my boobs; look where that got me, be careful what you wish for, ladies.
So since then Dan and I have been together. It probably seemed fun to our mothers for about the first five minutes and then, I’m certain, it sucked. Dan and I had an exciting courtship (read, drama, drama, drama). My mother had a forceful personality (read, big mouth) and Patti had to listen to a lot of crap because my belief that I’m always right is a genetic trait; my mom was always right too (she just thought she was, I really am). So, in a completely genuine, not boring or wall flowery way, my mother in law is perfect; she is the epitome of shut up and wear beige. There was a very specific point at which Patti decided not to argue about Dan and I anymore. It mostly took the wind out of my mom’s sails and they went back to being good friends. I stopped talking smack about Dan to my mom....and I started talking smack (and by smack, I’m talking leaving the toothpaste cap off, not hookers and drugs) about Dan to his mom. Which may seem like a bad idea, and quite honestly would have been, with a lesser person. I just figured she loved him too so I could bitch about him and she’d get it. For which I probably owe her a sizable apology and a huge debt of gratitude; thanks, Patti.
Patti and I are what you might call copacetic. We love a lot of the same people; Dan, Aidan, Grace, Olivia, Erin. We just get along, I’d say our temperaments were similar, but I’d be lying. I’m a pain in the ass, she’s a really nice, easy person. If I annoy her or if she secretly detests me; she should get an Oscar; she is a fantastic actress. I honestly can’t think of a cross word that she’s ever said to me and I’m sure I’ve been a snot at some point...you’ve met me?
When the girls were born Patti and her sister Marilyn (who is fabulous and adored by me in her own right) started coming over on Saturday mornings to give me a break. Pretty much every Saturday morning of their lives has involved their Grammy and their Auntie Mare...and doughnuts. They, as a team, have been beyond generous with their personal time and their love for each of my three children; I would not have made it through the first year or two of the girls’ life without the knowledge of that break on Saturday morning. If I have not said it enough; thank you, thank you, thank you.
When my mom got sick Patti is who held Erin and I together most days at the hospital. I don’t even have words (and I have a lot of words) to express what her support during that time meant to me and to my brother. And here is the thing; the motherless daughters club is expansive, there are far, far too many members. Of that club, there are three people on the planet that I am certain feel the same way about the loss of their moms as I do. They are Jessie Fenner, Donna Peters and Patti. Patti has been, by far, the most supportive woman in my life in regards to the loss of my mom. She just gets it. Her relationship with her mom was much, much different than my own and yet...and yet. That is all. She is just an irreplaceable, fantastic person in my life; she knows it, I tell her all the time, but I’d like everyone else to know it. Because, this...this is a bonafide love letter. I have often joked with Patti that I may not have won the husband lottery, but I damn sure won the mother in law lottery and it is entirely true. Patti Kaminski, you are absolutely, without a doubt one of my very favorite people on this planet. Thank you for taking me and my son and my brother into your family. Thank you for being my friend and thank you for just being generally fantastic. I love you.