September 24th, 2018
I came alone, and now I leave with a full heart and an incredible Houston Family….
I wanted to start this blog about coming to Houston as a bone broth and leaving as a taco, but this blog is not about me or the amount of tacos I ate in the past six weeks, it is about the tikkun olam, the beautiful Jewish family that has repaired my world.
The Baum Family
It all started with a simple post in June 2018 on the social network platform, Facebook for Houston recommendations.
It was a short few minutes later that I got a post from Ashley Segal. Ashley and I met while I was working at Boston Proper- She was one of my favorites with an awesome clothing line and whenever I spoke to her or her mother, I instantly smiled. They were just one of those people.
She quickly told me about Houston, gave me recommendations, and reassured me that MD Anderson was the best place to be, as her mother was also treated at this Center.
It was minutes later I was on the phone with her best friend, Nicole, a stranger that after minutes of talking with convinced me to come down and stay at her parents’ house. She said, “really, my parents are so busy, they will never be in your way. You just have to expect my mom to be a little loud and you can come and go as you please.”
I have been living on my own since I am 17 years old and the thought of living with another family outside of mine seemed foreign, but then again being diagnosed with cancer, 16 rounds of chemo and headed to a new city for 6.5 weeks of radiation was not how I expected my past eight months to be either.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer has taught me to go with the flow, let go of any control, and say goodbye to my type A personality, and go along with what G_d has in planned for me. I quickly reached out to Susan Baum, and after a few minutes of our phone conversation, I had a good feeling that this would work out. Trust your gut, it never lies- – except when there’s one more taco left…!
Fast forward to: August 12th.
Upon my arrival and receiving multiple post cards from my husband and kids, before I had time to go upstairs, I was greeted to meet Susan and Sandy Baum. It was minutes later that I met their daughter Nicole, her husband Jeff and two precious children Devon and Dylan, who live in the same neighborhood. Not to leave out their other amazing daughter Lindsey and husband Eric, who I also had been lucky enough to meet, but live in Austin. It was at this moment that I have met my Texas family.
I was quickly initiated into the family with my 35th birthday dinner at Samari hibachi, where they made sure the staff sang happy birthday to be with a cave man hat and a cane to carry. Here I was, a week in, 1300 miles away from my family, with people I just met smiling ear to ear. This would not surprise you if you knew the Baum family, but most of you reading my blog and following my journey don’t know them so I going to try to give you a glimpse in this blog post, because at the end of the day no amount of words can ever measure up my experience with the Baums and my eternal gratefulness for them.
No really, I did not just put that quote in to make my blog look pretty. I wrote it because it is the truth.
Meet Susan, who also goes by Susu. I quickly gained my title around here as executive PA. Susan loved it. Every morning we would go to the gym together at the JCC. From there I would go with her to run some errands.
I think it only took a few car rides, endless conversations, a trip or two (only Susu and I will confess to that exact number) to TJ Maxx, Dollar Tree and Marshall’s, to drinking my first beer of 2018 together with her at my first Houston Astros game.
The rules given to me as the roommate and Executive PA was a break for my radiation treatment, a one-hour break and two 15-minute breaks each day. This ongoing joke did not last long as I truly just started to become family. I am going to quickly insert here my Bat Mitzvah memory list of some of the fun we’ve had over the past six weeks.
- Astros Game, Alley Theater, Shopping, Music Box Theater,
- Arnie’s, Museums, Netflix
- Day trips to Austin, early morning gym sessions
- $0.99 store, which she swears there is a huge difference between them and the Dollar Tree
- Driving tours all over Houston
- Eating countless numbers of the best Tacos.
One of the best qualities of Susu, was that in all these errands she was always buying things for everyone else from every place we went to. She has a stocked closet of silly toys, sequin pillows and oversized slinky’s and a freezer full of ice cream at all times. Not only for her precious grandchildren, but for any child that walks into her house, a neighbor that may have had a bad day, or friend that cannot cook for himself and thoughtful gifts and snacks to bring to the hospital for my doctors and radiation therapists.
But of all the gifts she has given to me, for the cheer she brought to me….one of the greatest gifts was her daughter Nicole. Susu and her argued quite a bit about my title of executive PA, so I just became Nicole’s B*tch. It was easy, simple, and pure fun. While Susu was busy hosting her endless card games, poker parties, meals on wheels, and everything else in between, I was lucky enough to have Nicole. Nicole is without a doubt the best tour guide of the trendiest places in Houston to both visit and eat. My food selection had to be a good choice because I did not want to ”waste a meal” and make her shake her head.
She introduced me to Texas Kolaches, Magic Cafe donuts and some of the best of the best Tacos, Churros and cinnamon coffee. I enjoyed every moment with her sweet children making homemade Challah, slime activities, and hearing her son scream TAWAAAAA every time he sees me. I’m truly going to miss.Now looking back, most of my meals were consumed with Nicole and I cherish all of our time talking together and memories made as her friend.
To my Texas family, I am beyond grateful for all you have done for me. You took in a complete stranger during the last leg of the hardest journey in their life, treated her like a daughter and dear friend. – There are absolutely no words that I can say to thank you enough for what you have done for me and my family these passed two months. I know that everything happens for a reason, and this crazy journey I have been on for the last year, has brought me to the most kind, giving, and thoughtful people. I am so grateful this journey has brought the Baum family into world and now embedded in my heart forever. A place and family that will forever be cherished… y’all!
P.S I cannot forget about Chanel ….I mean precious