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It is done (and no one cried)

Y’all. We made it. Chickadee’s at college.

Now is the appropriate time for an AMEN and a HALLELUJAH and any other celebratory exclamation of your choosing. This was a long road and I would’ve happily changed MANY MANY parts of it, given the option, but in the end it led her right where she needed to be. Have I mentioned how proud I am of this kid? She astounds me every day.

So yes, it is bittersweet. But everyone warned us we’d all be bawling and I said NUH UH and everyone did the whole “Just you wait” and guess what? It was great. I’m not going to tell you my eyes weren’t a little glossy by the time we said goodbye, but the overwhelming feeling for us (and I think her, too) was joy. This was a Very Big Deal.

Everything JUUUUUUST fit in her car, save for her fridge, which worked out just fine; she and I left at the ass-crack of dawn in her car, and Otto came later with the fridge. This is because yesterday was insane: It was move-in day for Chickie, yes, but her assigned unloading time was exactly the same time as Monkey’s first class at our local university. So while I was pulling up to the curb and a veritable swarm of student volunteers descended on the car (no joke; we pulled up, gave her room number, and the crew head barked out the number and twenty seconds later the car was picked CLEAN. By the time I parked and returned to the dorm, she was checked in and everything she owned was in her room), Monkey was bounding up the steps towards Calculus.

Move-in was smooth. Monkey’s assessment of Calc (shared later), however, was “Everyone seemed to be sleeping and it’s also way too easy.” (My kind, supportive response: “Not everyone is a morning person like you, and maybe don’t assume the whole class is going to be easy from your experience on the very first day, Mr. Hubris.”) (more…)

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Here we are adulting

Hey! How was your weekend? Didja do anything fun? Things were pretty uneventful ’round here.

I mean, um, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anything good on TV, though my firstborn did graduate from high school. That was pretty much the most exciting thing ever for a million reasons, chief among them that I will do almost anything to see her looking as happy and proud of herself as she did on Saturday. It got even better on Sunday, when everything was over and we bid the relatives adieu and commenced spending the entire day lounging around in our pajamas. Not that the rest of it wasn’t great, you understand, but that day of communal couch-potato-ing was sort of like the collective exhale. It was glorious.

My parents were here, and Otto’s godmother, and after graduation we threw a small not-a-party because Chickadee did not WANT a party, so we compromised with “we are just inviting some of OUR friends to come drink some sangria and eat fancy cheese and hang out, you can show up or not.” Originally she said she would probably be elsewhere, but oddly enough, she ended up spending most of the evening with us, leaving to attend another party for about an hour (they had cake, so: priorities), but mostly sitting outside with the rest of us, feet tucked up underneath her, phone constantly in hand, looking every inch the incredible young woman ready to take on the world who she’s somehow become.

Lest you think everything has changed, however, rest easy. Be ye not alarmed! The Chickadee we know and love is still herself in this new “adult” form. (more…)

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3 things about The Vagina Monologues

1) Although this year was my fourth time being part of my local production, everything was different this time because Chickadee was in it with me, too. We could not have picked a better way to come full circle from the first time I was in it, years ago. (And if you want to read more about her, head over to Alpha Mom. I don’t know if you know this, but I am awfully fond of that kid.)

2) I’m not sure how (lies, I know how; I am largely oblivious), but my ENTIRE FAMILY conspired with Kira and kept me completely in the dark until SHE APPEARED AT MY FRONT DOOR ON SATURDAY and I started screaming loudly enough for her to hear me outside. This is because Kira lives 2,000 miles away, and I had no idea she was coming, and in fact I hadn’t even asked her to try to get to the show this year because we’ve never been able to manage it before AND she went back to college this year and went from being insanely busy to actual, like, truth-is-less-believable-than-fiction levels of swamped. But she came all this way to see the show and spent less than a day with me because she is the best.

3) There is video. [Editing to add: NSFW video, obvs.] My husband set up shop the night he came to see the show and so if you missed it but are dying to see my piece (and if you are, I am both flattered and slightly uneasy, but that’s another matter…), you can. But Imma put it after the jump, here, because I don’t think we need it sitting right on the front page. If you don’t need video, you’re done. (more…)

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Merry Christmas to all, and to all good cookies

It’s been a long time since I could say this, but: It’s been a pretty good year. I would like to lose 10 (20) pounds and I would like Duncan to stop getting ear infections and Licorice’s breath to smell less like she just ate a bunch of cat poop (yep, the feral cats in our neighborhood are still around…) and for Otto to have a little less stress in his life and for my kids to start understanding how amazing they really are and also maybe for them to strike the phrase “in a minute” from their vocabularies… but… things are good. These are minor quibbles.

To celebrate, I made a million cookies, and also I wrote you this as an attempt to explain. This year, this place where my family has finally landed, it feels like a quilt of tiny miracles after a looooooong stint of sifting through scraps and broken thread. One cookie has seen us through years of heartbreak and happiness, and this year is no different.

Merry Christmas, if you celebrate, and merry Chinese food, if you don’t. Thanks for being here. I hope you have everything you need this year, and cookies to see you through if for some reason you don’t, yet.

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What a long, strange… well, you know

In an interesting the-universe-has-a-weird-sense-of-humor turn of events, I received a fairly heartbreaking question for my Alpha Mom column on the same day that Chickadee received her first college acceptance. (This is the school she’ll attend, but not her only application, so I say “first,” but really, it should be “one and only that matters so far as she’s concerned.”)

It was right around this time, about four years ago, that we started a long, slow slide into the darkness ’round here. Every time I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did, and usually exponentially so. There were a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of tears and worry, LORD, years and years of worry, even after things started getting better. Can you hold your breath for years? It sure felt like it.

During the worst of it, I would’ve punched you right in the face if you’d tried to tell me how that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, blah blah blah. Whatever. And yet… I look at my daughter, now, and while I know that there will always be challenges, I also no longer doubt that she can best them. She lived. We lived. We’re all stronger for it, even if maybe we would’ve happily stayed a little weaker. (Ha!)

What I remember most about the bleakest times is not how sick she was or how scared I was, but how those who loved us held us up. And so in response to a distressed auntie worried about her nephew, mostly my advice is to keep being there. I promise, it will not go unnoticed.

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Cheers, not tears

There were a few things different, this year, as we tried to corral the kids for pictures and they rolled their eyes and bickered and insisted they were just plain over it. For one thing, even in wedges, and even on her tiptoes, Chickadee can no longer even pretend to be taller than Monkey. For another, I sent one of the pictures to Kira and she immediately sent back, “I don’t mean to alarm you, but someone has swiped your baby boy and replaced him with an enormous man.” (This is true. Also: Terrifying.)

We were having fun. Then Otto mentioned that this would be our last photo of two sets of shoes together on the first day of school. That’s different, too. That’s nothing short of miraculous, frankly.

2015-first-day-shoes

Senior year skulls, junior year WOW THAT IS BRIGHT GREEN.

We’re in the final countdown to liftoff, and I’ve never been more excited. You can head to Alpha Mom for more details on why I won’t be wasting any time being sad this year.

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*insert band geek gang symbol here*

Some people love the Christmas season, others twirl around with glee in the early spring when the flowers begin to bloom. Me, I think mid-summer is the most wonderful time of the year. Everyone else is all “It’s so hot! It’s so rainy! I can’t believe school’s starting soon!” And then I’m over here on cloud nine, all, “IT’S BAND CAMP SEASON, BITCHES!”

Band camp is a miracle, wrapped in jubilation, taking the covert form of teenagers who are happy and too tired to be difficult.

Sure, getting up early and packing lunches again isn’t really something any of us missed, but it’s worth it. Chickadee’s in her happy place. Monkey’s stretching himself and finding his way. The groundwork is being laid for an awesome return to school and busy, happy fall days. I like it. Nope, scratch that. I love it.

And hey! This one time, at band camp? I wrote about my continuing love for band camp and all things marching band at Alpha Mom. Long live marching band, man.

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Life is messy and wonderful

You may have felt like I’ve kind of been half-assing it ’round here the last few weeks. (Alternatively, you may find it hilarious that I think you care that much. If you fall into this latter category, just skip ahead to the next paragraph.) Confession: I’ve been half-assing it here for the last few weeks. My heart and mind has been elsewhere, and some of the distraction has been emotional, but a lot of it has been logistical. There was just a lot to be done in a fairly short period of time, and I put my head down and tried to power through it, even while fighting back the fears that it wouldn’t work or it would work but there would be anger and unhappiness.

I’m pretty good with a mission, really. Give me a checklist and I’m a machine. Finish decluttering the house, CHECK. Contact the school, meet with the school, CHECK. Enroll with a new doctor, CHECK. Request records, CHECK. Gather an army, CHECK. Get advice, give updates, take a deep breath, CHECK CHECK CHECK.

Chickadee was supposed to come home for her school break on Friday. And she both did and didn’t.

She came home, but not for break. She’s home and she’s staying. (more…)

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Happy, happy reunion: A guest post from Chickadee

She’s home! SHE’S HOME! I shall love her and hug her and squeeze her and call her George Chickadee. Oh, wait. I already did that. And then, she wrote you this post. MAH BAYBEE, growing up and stuff. Enjoy! —M

What have I missed most about being home? Is it the home cooked meals, or the dog licking my tonsils every time I open my mouth to talk? Or maybe it’s the higher-than-30-degrees weather?

No. No, it would definitely have to be my brother waking me up in the morning by repeatedly hitting me in the face with my own dirty sock. Ah, home sweet (er, smelly) home.

After that lovely encounter, the morning festivities began. There was a whirlwind of smoothies, dog slobber, and coffee* (which apparently I’m not supposed to share with the dog. Who knew?) We are very busy here at the Georgia house, obviously. (more…)

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The hits keep on comin’

Otto’s car isn’t salvageable, unless you count “costing as much money to fix it as the car is worth” as salvageable, which I do not.

Monkey is on day two of a Mysterious Fever, which today came with a bonus Mysterious Rash.

And yet… my folks have arrived, and my office currently houses Wave Two of the great tampon lemonade project, ready for delivery tomorrow.

Twenty-four more boxes of goodies for the girls. Know what? It’s better than a working car. [Bonus: My dad turned to Monkey this morning and said, “What do you think of all these donations, Monkey?” and even though he was laying on the couch being pitiful he said, “My mom collects tampons and IT’S CREEPY.” So fever or no, he seems fine. Heh.]

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