This is not a picture of shoes

Those of you who’ve been around here for years know that it’s been my tradition ever since we moved to Georgia to post a picture of my kids’ shoes on the first day of school. It not only works well with that whole Witness Protection Program thing my kids have going on, to me it’s always felt like the most iconic representation of the new school year. Even once it became “uncool” to sport new kicks on the first day.

If I’d bothered to think about it, I guess I would’ve imagined that the first day of high school would’ve been the same way—a picture of shoes, an excited but nervous launch into the next chapter, and maybe even the realization that my days of shoe pictures have only a few more years to go. (Unless Chickie wanted to send me a picture of her shoes from college, which actually seems like something she might do, come to think of it. Or would’ve done, prior to… you know. All of this.)

Instead, today is supposed to be Chickadee’s first day of high school and it isn’t. Despite the hard work I’m doing every day on acceptance and living in the moment and staying positive, last night this kind of hit me like a ton of bricks, and this morning isn’t much better. It’s supposed to be today. Today is supposed to be a day full of promise for her, and I’m sad it’s not. I don’t know how not to grieve this.

Yesterday I got a call from the hospital, and then I got to listen to a staff member recite a long litany of ways in which Chickadee had made a series of poor choices that day. Did she remember today was the first day of school? Was something else going on? She becomes inscrutable when things go bad, all crossed arms and stony defiance and emotional distance that feels like we’ll never reach her again. I would not get an explanation from her, later, but I didn’t really expect one.

“Thank you for filling me in,” I said, at the end of the recitation. “I’m sorry it was a bad day.”

“You’re welcome,” the woman said. I was fine, up until then, but then I was caught off guard. “She’s a really neat kid,” she continued, this woman who gets to spend more time with my child than I do, these days. “I just love her. She’s so smart. She has such interesting things to say, she thinks about stuff in an amazing way no one else does. I just love talking with her. But today wasn’t her day, you know?”

“I know,” I finally managed to say.

She IS such a neat kid. Under it all. But still, some days she’s just… gone. Anger spews from her every pore, instead, and when she returns, she’s sad.

Chickadee got on the phone with me. “Anything else you want to tell me about what happened?” I asked, trying to keep my voice neutral.

“No,” she said. “She told you everything.”

“You wanted to come home for a night this weekend,” I reminded her. “Are you coming home for a night, now?”

“No ma’am,” she said, immediately. Then, in a small voice: “I wasn’t thinking about that when it happened. But then I remembered, after.” I heard a small, shuddery sigh.

“Yeah,” I said. I didn’t know what else to say.

“It’s my own fault, I know,” she said (progress!), “but I’m sad now.”

“Me too, Kiddo. Me, too.”

So on the one hand, today is and is not the first day of high school. I heard the bus go by while I was sitting here at my desk, and I just kept typing while the tears fell.

On the other hand, today is… Monkey’s third day of high school. Hippie School resumes next week, but this year Monkey’s doing three days of Hippie School and two high school virtual school classes, and virtual school started on Monday. He’s taking a science class and a language arts class, and already I can see this may be the most amusing thing ever.

The online system uses a bulletin board like thing for class discussions, and it’s customary for each virtual school class to start off with a “getting to know you” discussion. The kids are encouraged to post an introduction, interact with their peers, etc. So Monkey sat down on Monday and posted his introduction, and then we looked through some of the others. Listen, I knew he’d probably be the youngest kid in there, but there’s nothing quite like watching your kid post:
My name is Monkey and I am a homeschooler in 7th grade. I love science! And I have an awesome dog named Licorice who is a Shih-Poo (Shih Tzu/Poodle mix).

And then seeing that the other kids have posted things like:
My name is Macho McManly and I am a high school senior headed into the Air Force. I’ll ship out as soon as this class is over. My hobbies include fixing up my muscle car and bench pressing 450 pounds.

Part of the task was to “post thoughtful responses to at least two of your peers,” which to my darling son meant things like reading a three-paragraph introduction from someone that ended “P.S. I also think waffles are awesome,” and responding, “I also enjoy waffles!” HAAAAAAAAAAAA.

Sooooo… yeah. Also, Monkey prefers to work on virtual school while barefoot, so, you know, no shoe pics for him, either.

In summary: High schooler, not starting high school. Boo, woe, sad, frustrated, tired of this, etc. Middle schooler, starting high school and strutting his social awkwardness. Interesting, amusing, letting our freak flag fly, etc.

But… no shoes.

If you need some shoe pictures, you can take a quick stroll down memory lane [here you go: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007]. I did, this morning, and ohhhhh did last year’s post stir up some Big Feelings. Hindsight, man. It’s a stabby thing these days. Woulda coulda shoulda, and all of that.

I don’t know how to properly commemorate this day full of weirdness or how to get this elephant off my chest. Maybe I’ll make Monkey some waffles later.

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85 Responses to “This is not a picture of shoes”

  1. 1
    zchamu August 8, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    Oh Mir. My heart aches for you. But you know what? Soon, after all of this is over, she’ll start high school. Not today, but she’ll have a first day, a first day all her own, a first day of her new life. And you can get the picture then. Hugs.

  2. 2
    Jenne August 8, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Or post pictures of bare feet. <3

  3. 3
    Otto August 8, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I like waffles, too.

    I think we have a dinner plan.

    -otto

  4. 4
    jodifur August 8, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Oh Mir….Chickie is still Chickie..she is still smart and beautiful and wonderful and amazing. She will go to high school. She will probably even go to college. You will all get through this to another side. It just may not be the side you thought you would.

    I’m trying to remember that too. Life may not be what you thought. You may not be where you thought.

    Totally love the shoe thing by the way, and I don’t know how I forgot you did this.

  5. 5
    Kristie August 8, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I’m so sorry. I’m kind of choked up at my desk at work right now. My mama heart is breaking for your family.

  6. 6
    deva August 8, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Oh Mir. If I could reach through my computer and hug you, I would.

    Also, I agree with Otto – waffles are a great dinner.

  7. 7
    Little Bird August 8, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    I was gonna say, a barefoot picture would work!

  8. 8
    Jen August 8, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    Aw hells. The shoes. I remember the shoes pictures. :( New tradition. When things go sideways you…take a picture of…Licorice begging for a bellyrub. Or Monkey begging for a bellyrub, ya never know.
    And you’re in the south, you have to add fried chicken to dem dere waffles for dinner.
    This sucks and I wish it didn’t.

  9. 9
    karen August 8, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    I’m liking the barefoot idea!

    And there are some really good Gluten-free Waffle mixes out there, just sayin.

  10. 10
    Liz August 8, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Sending so many hugs.

  11. 11
    Sherri August 8, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Mir, I’m sorry…. it’s hard when milestones that you were looking forward to don’t happen. You are in the process of rethinking your future and it’s a hard to do. There will be new milestones…. I promise.

  12. 12
    Chris August 8, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Breaking hearts here. Love you.

    Also, what lovely things the staff member said. And she’s right. Chickadee is a really neat kid.

  13. 13
    Heather August 8, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    <3

  14. 14
    Rebecca August 8, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    I just want to hug you. I don’t know how you grieve this either, but it can’t hurt to get it out, even if it’s just to us here on your blog.

    It’s hard, and we’re here for you. Much love. <3

  15. 15
    Mandy August 8, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Sniff, sniff.

    Definitely waffles for dinner.

    And I agree: we need pics of Monkey’s bare feet to mark his entry into online high school.

    ((Hugs))

    Don’t know if it’d be helpful or not, but what about finding some great shoes for C when she comes home?

  16. 16
    Marsh August 8, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Wow. Hard. It won’t always be this way.

  17. 17
    birchsprite August 8, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    Many many years of shoes to come!

    Sending lots of love and hugs to you all.

  18. 18
    Arina August 8, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Hugs. It’s funny (not really) how these milestones hit like a ton of bricks, isn’t it?

  19. 19
    Carrie August 8, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    sending good vibes, good vibes, good vibes……

  20. 20
    Melissa August 8, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Thinking of you guys today.

  21. 21
    Lissa August 8, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Let’s see those bare feet!!!

    I hereby declare tonight’s dinner theme to be…waffles! We’ll be eating them and hoping you feel the love.

  22. 22
    Katherine August 8, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    I think a picture of Monkeys bare feet , especially however he is when he is doing the schoolwork, would do quite nicely. I know my boys often get into interesting positions when reading.

    Is Chickie getting to start on schoolwork? I hope she has a better day today and gets that visit home soon.

    Waffles sound awesome for dinner! Maybe we’l have them too. And I’ll be thinking of your family – you really deserve some good news and lots of it.

  23. 23
    elz August 8, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    The mom in me hurts so much for you all now. The friend in me says buy yourself a pair of shoes and take a picture of those b/c if anybody deserves new shoes, its you. I’ll keep hoping, wishing, and praying that things improve.

  24. 24
    amy August 8, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    I’m so sorry, Mir. And Otto? You’re awesome :)

  25. 25
    bonuela August 8, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    of course this is a sad day for you, you deserve to mourn the way you expected your lives to be at this point. let me take off my jumbo floppy pessimist hat for a second and try to put a positive spin on what you’ve got. while it is painfully slow, look at the progress chickadee is making. she went from “not sure if she will ever get any better at all” to “making poor choices”. people incapacitated by mental illness don’t make choices, she is already better enough to do so. even if they are not the right ones. as for monkey? what could have been a disaster seems to be exactly what he needed. the online classes let him take a break from the pressure of social expectations and just plain learn. he still gets to go to hippie school, but without the pressure of having to hold it together and study at the same time.

    now go take a picture of monkey’s bare feet!!!

  26. 26
    Arnebya August 8, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Your words made me cry, then Otto’s made me smile. Hell, I think I’ll have waffles for dinner too. (Can you imagine how fast we’d shut down Instagram if we all shared the high school no school barefoot lemonade waffles we have for dinner? Ha!)

    Thinking of you and wishing there was something more tangible, more meaningful I could do.

  27. 27
    Nicole August 8, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    I thought of you this morning as I was trying my damnedest to get a decent smile out of my silly kindergartner on the stoop before we left for his very first day. I briefly thought about taking a photo of his shoes, then I remembered that he insisted he didn’t want new shoes and he was wearing a pair of hand-me-down spiderman shoes that are really on their last leg anyway.

    Hugs to you and I think you could still snap a pick of those dangling bare feet if it would help.

  28. 28
    Mary K. in Rockport August 8, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Stabby is exactly the right word to describe those feelings.

  29. 29
    Tracy B August 8, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    What’s wrong with bare feet? I sit at my desk almost all day without my shoes on. And complain when I have to put them on to go outside my office…like to the bathroom, ewww! I hope your day gets better and you dive in feet first into those waffles. Chin up, Mir…You have so much support on the outside! {{{hugs}}}

  30. 30
    Beverly August 8, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Oh, it’s all too much. :(

  31. 31
    Schmutzie August 8, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    This is a new phase for you, too. How about a picture of your own shoes?

  32. 32
    Kim August 8, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Grieve. Oh my goodness, grieve. If you start telling yourself what you should or shouldn’t feel, things will get even worse.
    I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I am glad you’re willing to share this part of your life, too. You’ve got a ton of people pulling for you and your family to come together again.

  33. 33
    Tenessa August 8, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Pictures of bare feet ftw!

  34. 34
    Stacy August 8, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    It’s okay to grieve. Things are very different from where you imagined they would be. You’re a worrier and there’s nothing worse than not being able to control things. At least you know that about yourself. I like the bare feet picture suggestion. It’s the same, but different.

  35. 35
    Issa August 8, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Sigh. Hugs to you. I can’t imagine how hard today is. Or this all in general.

    Small progress is still progress though so YAY CHICKEE!!!!

  36. 36
    12tequilas August 8, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Bare feet are Hippie!

  37. 37
    Alysia August 8, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    I vote for bare feet picture too.
    I’m sorry this is so tough. We tell ourselves the milestones don’t hurt but sometimes they really get us when we least expect it.

  38. 38
    Jennifer August 8, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I’m sorry. Just… yeah. I’m sorry.

  39. 39
    suburbancorrespondent August 8, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    It is so painful when they miss those milestones. There aren’t even words for it. You need to grieve what is lost in order to go forward with what is there. It’s hard work, but just as important as the work that Chickie is doing.

    Keep pedaling…

  40. 40
    Susan in SF August 8, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I’m sad for you and for all that the no shoe picture means. Please do let yourself grieve that very real loss. Gentle hugs being sent to you!

  41. 41
    mamalang August 8, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I’m crying with you. And for you all. Please don’t work too hard learning how not to grieve these things. Grieving the loss or postponement of milestones is perfectly acceptable and necessary.

    And yay for Monkey. It’s great that he’s letting his freak flag fly.

    Enjoy those waffles tonight.

  42. 42
    Genevieve August 8, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    You don’t have to know how not to grieve this — you can go ahead and grieve it. You’re allowed and it’s a perfectly reasonable response.

    There will be more wonderful milestones for Chickie. And for Monkey (he might like the bare feet pic to commemorate his first online day, or you could do a shod pic for his first Hippie day), and for you and for Otto.

    I agree with above — Chickie has definitely taken big steps forward — it seems huge to get to where she’s had a day of poor choices and that’s very notable, as opposed to when she first got there or a month ago. I love that the woman on staff has really gotten to know Chickie and appreciates her and recognizes the awesome kid that she is, as well as at the same time recognizing that this wasn’t her day (as opposed to thinking her behavior that day is who she is all the time and not seeing the fabulous kid underneath). That you guys were going to do an overnight seems huge — and I’m so sorry for you and for Chickie that that has to be postponed now, that has to be a big disappointment — but it definitely sounds like progress that she recognizes that it’s because of her poor choices, and she’s sad about that and that she didn’t think of that in the moment, and knowing that about herself could help her get to where she does think of it in the moment next time.
    It also sounds like you handled the call with the staff member and with Chickie really well.

    There will be marvelous firsts for her in the future.

    But you can still grieve that this first didn’t happen today as it was supposed to. You can grieve what you all have missed, and that doesn’t mean you’re not hoping and planning for future wonderful things. But you don’t have to be hard on yourself for being sad about today.

    Hugs and virtual waffles to you. I think waffles and lemonade would go great together.

  43. 43
    Karen R August 8, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Grieving is a necessary part of getting though this. Hopefully new hopes and dreams will replace the old ones, and the grief will subside. But on your timetable, not anyone else’s. But I do hope some good things will start happening for you soon.

    Waffles with real maple syrup — yum!

  44. 44
    Frank August 8, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Waffles ONLY if they are the REAL waffles… not the Belgian kind that to many places try to pawn off as Waffles… add some bacon and all will be well for a few minutes. Luck to you and yours!

  45. 45
    Michelle August 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    I wish I had words that would make it all better. . .or maybe a magic wand. . .or a magic waffle?

    Maybe you could start a new tradition of pictures of you and Otto’s shoes on the first day of school. . . .

  46. 46
    Vane August 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Hugs … just hugs for all of you, hang in there

  47. 47
    Carla Hinkle August 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Oh, Mir. What a hard day. But something bonuela (above) posted got to me:

    “[P]eople incapacitated by mental illness don’t make choices, she is already better enough to do so. even if they are not the right ones.”

    Big hugs to all of you.

  48. 48
    RuthWells August 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Hugs and hugs and hugs. And waffles. And tequila, if you’re so inclined.

  49. 49
    Lisa August 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    We ALL should have (tampon) lemonade and waffles tonight while barefoot! I agree that a barefoot Monkey picture is in order and maybe a picture of YOUR feet to remind you that you’re still standing (a la Elton John, even if the lyrics don’t totally apply)!

  50. 50
    Tara August 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    I’m also thinking bare feet. Sorry that this year is pretty crappy.

  51. 51
    Tarrant August 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    When first day of school rolled around for troubledgirlchild the fall after we started homeschooling, it felt so important to have that first day of school picture. After all, we had little kids who were having their first day of school picture. So, I got her first day of school pajamas and there was a picture out by the tree on the first day of school.
    The first year I didn’t see the little kids on the first day of school–I was a mess. Oh hell, I will be a mess this year too. Grumble.
    I sort of figure it is like how I get grumpy even now, with adult children of my own when I think on Christmas morning how it should be ME sitting on the stairs, having my picture taken, getting ready to see what Santa brought me.

  52. 52
    Heather August 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I just can’t articulate everything I’ve been wanting to say to you over the past few months, or anything that is different from what has been said. Just want to let you know that there is another loyal reader who cares and loves you and your family.

  53. 53
    Lara August 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Heartbreaking. Grieve, breathe, and keep putting one foot ahead of the other. Sounds like Chickie is doing better and her day WILL come. Whenever a child is diagnosed with anything or even if the child makes unexpected choices, you have to grieve that life you had all planned out in your head. It’s hard but I hear it gets easier – not there yet myself!! I hope this year turns around for you all soon!

  54. 54
    Mary Anne August 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    Hey-first time I have posted-been reading since early summer. I too have a 16 year old who is not going to her first day of 11th tomorrow. Many of the same dramas though not quite as intense as Chickie’s. We pulled her from public school in the spring and she is now on the online home school thing. Defiant about going to a regular school. Thinks she is an 11th grader when, in fact, she is only halfway through tenth grade. Diagnosed with depression and ADD. Threatened suicide in the 8th grade so we have been down the ‘facility’ route but not for as long.
    I am sad too. But you know, these kids will find their own paths in our world. They are just different and we mourn the normalcy that has left our home. I have been thinking about you quite a bit and understand some of your struggles. Many, many prayers to you and your family-big hugs and a bottle of wine-every nite.

  55. 55
    Julie Marsh August 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Waffles are popular here too (except we call them waffemelos), as are bare feet. The familiar has a way of helping us bear the milestones that don’t turn out the way we planned.

  56. 56
    Emily August 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Wishing you had two set of feet at home to photograph. Soon, I pray. Soon.

  57. 57
    MamaChristy August 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Why on earth wouldn’t you let yourself grieve this? Grieve and let this bit of it go. As a previous poster said, there will be HER first day and a first day is a first day. I’m so sad that you have had to grieve so much this year. May the 2012 of suckditude (totally a word) give way to a happier – and extremely BORING – 2013. XOXO

  58. 58
    c August 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    <3

  59. 59
    addy August 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    I am always barefoot inside the house. POST the toes pic! And not a big fan of waffles – but you can use the lonely waffle iron in the cupboard if it will help :)

  60. 60
    Bryan August 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I say post those feet. And if you can, post Chickie’s feet too, when you see them next. And yes yes YES to what Genevieve said up above, you don’t have to know how not to grieve. Grief is an important step, and if you skip it, it comes back to gnaw on your innards.

    (And I didn’t even have to look at how Genevieve spelled her name, because my very bestest everest friend in the whole wide world growing up was a Genevieve. I’ve always loved the name!)

  61. 61
    Amy-Go August 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    Barefoot picture! YES! And wine with the waffles.

  62. 62
    sarah August 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    SUCKS! Hugs to you.

  63. 63
    Kira August 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Oh god. I’m so sorry. Someone very wise once told me recently that setbacks, when you’re grieving, are a part of the landscape. Tough to accept, but you’ll get through.
    I’m so sorry, though. Just when you think you’ve cried all the tears you possibly could…

  64. 64
    cstantur@msn.com August 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    A realistic picture might be of a barefooted shot of Monkey getting his toes licked. It would make me smile, Licorice smile, and Monkey would be laughing… maybe you too.

  65. 65
    J from Ireland August 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Aw shit Mir, my heart hurts for you. Sending a prayer over for your neat girl. Best wishes.

  66. 66
    Sharon August 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Mir, I took a moment midway through reading to collect myself, so I can’t imagine what you’re feeling. My grown daughter reads here, too [a family physician now who wants a family of her own] and remembers what a struggle her teen years were, though for different reasons, for both of us. She asks, “What’s different, Mom? How did I make it through?” I have no answer. I know Chickie will make it through and look back one day and ask you how she did it. You may still not have an answer but you will know you were there every step of the way and that you did it together. Thinking of you, all of you ~

  67. 67
    Jessica August 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    I love Schmutzie’s idea along with the barefoot Monkey feet idea, as it gives you a different perspective on the start of this school year.

    You made me tear up here, which isn’t something that happens often with me…

  68. 68
    Jean August 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    I was only just recently wondering what might happen with the shoe pix this year, and feeling awful that there might be only one pair to view at this time. So very sorry for the current circumstances, but there ARE positives here – you did work out a plan for Monkey and Chicky IS improving. There WILL be more shoe pix, I’m confident, just maybe not on the presumed schedule. Best to you and your family with high hopes for steady and rapid progress for everyone! Hang in there, Mir, we’re all rooting for you and yours.

  69. 69
    liz August 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    (((hugs)))

  70. 70
    Aimee August 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    I’m sorry it isn’t a picture of shoes, too. I love thiose pictures.

    Maybe shoe-shaped waffles for everyone?

  71. 71
    Annette August 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    I think it’s ok to grieve. At the end of that process is acceptance, right? Love, hugs and prayers.

  72. 72
    TC August 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    I’m maybe a wee bit drunk (good work-related news for me, broke open a good bottle of wine, will say more some other time, not that relevant), but this post actually made me cry. Not made me misty. Made me CRY.

    I’m sorry. For you, for Chickie. I’m sad about so much. I’m sad about the picture of my friend’s 14-year-old in chemotherapy. I’m sad about my friend’s mother’s cancer diagnosis. I’m so so so sad that Chickie didn’t start high school today. I’m happy that we’ve all gotten to meet each other thanks to these here interwebs, but man. It also opens the door to so much more sad than ever before.

    All that said, YOU make me happy. With your sticking out, with your strength, with your finding the good, with your making things better. I send you virtual hugs and love and flat-out admiration.

    You, my virtual friend, are very very pretty.

  73. 73
    TC August 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    SIGH. That should have been sticking IT out. Oy.

  74. 74
    Varda (SquashedMom) August 9, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    A thousand hugs. Plus ditto what everyone else has wisely said. This just sucks. {{{More hugs.}}}

  75. 75
    Beth August 9, 2012 at 6:22 am #

    Picture of bare feet would totally be appropriate!!! Progress is progress Mir – embrace that thought for a moment. She’s making progress. Lettin’ my freaky flag fly today in honor of your precious little ones.

  76. 76
    brigitte August 9, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    “Letting our freak flag fly” – I love it!
    I also love the woman on staff for getting to know Chickadee, and actually encouraged by her saying it just wasn’t Chickie’s day. That would mean most days ARE her days, wouldn’t it?

    But I would still cry at the first day of high school going by without her, I’m with you there.
    :-(

  77. 77
    erika August 9, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    sometimes words are just so inadequate. sending you and your whole family love.

  78. 78
    Asha August 9, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    It’s so hard to accept not only the hard things that *do* happen when a child is struggling, but the “good” things that *don’t* happen. I could tell you many stories about the jealousy and resentment I felt toward “normal” families doing “normal” things when my son was struggling. Looking back now, I think that acceptance of “new normal” is all we can do, but for me that involved a fair amount of mourning. I will also say this: Chickadee (your entire family) is growing and expanding in ways no one can even imagine. There will be a time when you’ll look back and perhaps be sad for the missed moments, but euphoric about where this experience will have led you all. Much love to you, Mir, and to your family.

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    Another Dawn August 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    My momma heart defintely did a lurch at this one. It’s very hard when life doesn’t give us the things that seem to come so easily to others and that we want desperately. I mean, all we want is ‘normal,’ right? How hard can that be?

    I clicked on all the links and was startled to realize I’ve been reading your blog for about about five years now. Didn’t seem that long. No wonder I’ve gotten so attached to you all.

    Besides, you’re all pretty.

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    katiefleck August 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    I was just thinking about you and your shoe pictures as I spent $150 on 3 pairs of shoes for my 3 teenagers. Shouldn’t $150 buy me 10 pairs of shoes?!?!? I think I fail at shoe shopping.

    I’m so sorry. I think it’s the little things that get you. On the surface it’s a big thing (Chickie in the hospital) but it’s a ton of little things too. Like pictures of shoes.

    Also as a nursing student, I’m SO glad the staff member added “she’s a really neat kid”. I try very hard to remember that even the most trying patient (I’ve seen some doozies!) is someone else’s loved one. Sometimes that gets lost in all the negative stuff going on. Chickie is a wonderful intelligent beautiful human being as are you. You both WILL get through this.

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    Nancy R August 10, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    What Genevieve said – all of it. We’ve got this milestone coming up next week, so you’ve been on my mind a lot.

    I would not be opposed to a photo project of Where Are Monkey’s Toes? to tide us over until it’s time for the school shoes photo. Why limit Monkey’s feet to one day?

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    Chris August 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    I vote for the barefoot Monkey photo shot and one of Chickie’s feet as well. Sometimes things no longer line up the way they used to but that doesn’t mean the foot photo can’t change and evolve.

    Having said that I would likely curl up and go to bed early after a good cry and then hope tomorrow was a bit easier. Hang in there….

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    Sharon August 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    so glad for the nurse’s comment! so glad you still have monkey’s feet for a photo!
    it’s truly hard. in the midst of psychosis, yeah, the victim doesn’t make decisions, their psychosis does. it’s like during that time you have to drop back and think of the sorts of milestones that would be more appropriate for a victim of mental disability not mental illness. so, if chickie is deciding, that is amazing!
    and yes, their friends are going on to do “normal” things and you are happy for those family friends, but then you have to go up on the prairie and scream and gnaw on your arms. drop those expectations from “omg, he might be philosophy major with no career prospects” to “omg, he might get to keep medicaid and afford his meds”
    or to yay, he’s a young man with mental illness who is NOT violent, who wants to play his flute again, but is terrified his neighbors will complain about the noise. he is so aware that young men are assumed to be violent first and in need of help last, so aware that everyone is afraid of young men, so aware young men are too scary to help or to do nice things for. he’s afraid to move. that is also one of the faces of schizophrenia.
    it’s so hard. you have to balance that, the siblings, your significant other, your job, and you are always last on the list. the cats come before you….well, ok, they come before any one, even the dog.
    you need to go and scream somewhere. do it, and don’t feel guilty.
    you are wonderful.

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    not supergirl August 13, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I’m new to your blog, arriving via blogher links starting at amalah.com and eventually landing here. I don’t feel like I can read this without delurking immediately. Your writing, especially right now, is so immediate, intimate and personal. Mental illness is a challenge in my family as well, a different type of challenge than you and your daughter are facing, but enough that I can empathize, at least to a degree. (I will not pretend to know how you feel, not really, when my circumstances are so different.) And damn it sucks. I’m so sorry for the painful parts. I’m also grateful to you for your openness. In my family growing up, we weren’t supposed to talk about it. I can tell you, that really didn’t help much. Knowing that my family members were ashamed of my grandma’s mental illness sure didn’t help me admit mine. I’ve come a long way, and so have they, and my kids know (God, I hope they do!) that it can be treatable and that it’s another illness, like so many, and doesn’t mean anything bad about them – or me – or anyone else. OK, I could go on and on here, but I’m going to rein myself in and just reiterate my gratitude for your openness, because wonderful kids with wonderful parents can be stuck with this, and people need to understand that. Thanks so much.

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    {sue} August 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Chiming in late but with hugs all the same.

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