Halfway there, still my baby

By Mir
April 17, 2007

Tonight I made two dozen cupcakes with PINK frosting, because it HAS to be PINK, and no, it could not be the convenient can of STRAWBERRY frosting, it needs to be BUTTERCREAM. Pink buttercream. With sprinkles. Flower-shaped sprinkles.

The cupcakes in question are for school tomorrow, assuming that there IS school tomorrow, which is not a foregone conclusion, you know, because we haven’t had school yet this week. (In fact, I’m having a bit of deja vu, although fortunately this time I am enjoying the periodic glugging of my sump pump rather than bailing out my basement.) But you assured me that there WOULD be school tomorrow, because you need to bring in your cupcakes.

This year you haven’t exhibited your usual glee about the big event. I think maybe you’re thinking about how this is your last birthday here, with this group of friends. You say you’re excited, but then instead of asking for things and pestering me to allow you to have a party with a dozen of your closest friends (except the one who was mean to you last week, because maybe you don’t like her anymore, but you’re still deciding), you just do that half-smile you’ve developed and say that whatever we do is fine.

Tonight at bedtime you grabbed my face and drew it close to yours. “MOOOOOM!” you exhaled onto me, nose-to-nose, “This is my LAST NIGHT as an eight-year-old!”

“I know! Tomorrow you need to go out and get a job.” I backed out of your grasp as you giggled, plucked your glasses from your face and set them atop your clock, in their usual spot.

“Noooooooo. But this WILL be my LAST YEAR in the SINGLE DIGITS!” Now you did a Macauley Culkin Home Alone face, hands on cheeks, mouth dropped in horror.

I wanted to tell you that you can’t scare me; that I can still close my eyes and picture you as a round-faced baby, even as I look at you and see how your waist is already starting to nip inwards.

You drive me crazy. You torment your brother until he cries, then tell me you “didn’t mean to” or that he misunderstood something you said or did. (Yes, I totally believed that he “misunderstood” when you hit him in the stomach with that book you didn’t want to share. He can be so obtuse, you know.) You sass me and when I call you on it you look right at me, grab that shovel, and just keep digging deeper. And you hate—absolutely HATE—to apologize.

But you are also hilarious, and insightful, and tender with compassion when you choose to be. None of this is new, of course, but your awareness of it is. I see you glimpsing yourself, considering your impact on the world, struggling to choose your approach. You don’t always choose correctly. But your average is improving.

Sometimes if I look at you sideways, or let my focus go a bit soft when I’m gazing at you from across the room, I can see the teenage you. She’s full of emotions and quick to laugh, and even quicker to lash out to ward off tears. She’s very familiar to me, you know.

There was a time when I dreaded you growing up, becoming someone I wouldn’t be able to handle. Now I know it’s more a fear of you feeling uncomfortable in your own skin. But maybe I don’t need to worry about that when you can behold my displeasure and quirk your eyebrows and intone, “I am being a brat. I need to stop. You want to strangle me. But you LOOOOVE MEEEEEE!”

It’s true. Sometimes you’re a brat. Sometimes my fingers twitch with an urge to grab you a little too hard, to snap you to better behavior, back to the kindness I know you possess. But I see you. All of you. You are the girl who leaves little presents for her brother and reaches out to the child who is left out and knows when I’m feeling stressed. You are the girl who sparkles when you get a laugh. You are the girl who hugs me tight in the dark and tells me “Not yet, don’t go yet… just hug me a little longer.”

You are my one and only Chickadee. You are my heart, little claws and all. Happy birthday, baby.


  1. Sandee

    Have a wonderful 9th year, Chickadee!

  2. Sharkey

    Happy birthday, Chickadee!

  3. Lady M

    What a loving (and true) post! Happy Birthday, Chickadee!

  4. Liz

    Yay, It’s my birthday tomorrow too! (I should call my mom to ask where my cupcakes are…)

  5. Zee

    Ohhh, now you’ve got me all choked up. Wonderful post, Mir. Please excuse me now while I go wipe the tears off my cheeks. :(

    Happy Birthday, Chickadee! (oh, and those cupcakes sound YUMMY…)

  6. Anna

    Mir, this post brought tears to my eyes. My Chickadee is soon to be 17 years old. Trust me, when I say there are many times I would like to bounce her beautiful head off the wall.

    Then, there are the times I have a peek in to the soul of a warrior and heart of an angel that make it all worth it.

  7. Cele

    Thank you for your wonderful gift of sharing. You never fail to make me laugh out loud, cry, smile, a miss my daughter, my mother, my grandson. Thank you.

    Happy 9th Birthday Chickie :)

  8. Heather

    Happy birthday Chickadee! I hope this next year is filled with many new and exciting things, and that everyone in Georgia realizes just how tremendously cool you really are.

  9. Jackie

    Chickadee, have a lovely, joyful birthday! You are such a lucky girl to have a mom who loves you so. Blessings indeed!

    Mir, you are wonderful. Thank you. A good cry never hurt anyone. :)

  10. Judy.

    Awwww. Happy Birthday, Chickadee!! Have a wonderful one. We all love you.

  11. MomCat

    How very sweet! Thanks for sharing those feelings so well. :D

    And Best Wishes to the Birthday Girl for a great day filled with pink cupcakes, giggles and inner fluffy things!

  12. Mia

    With such a loving mother, Chickadee is bound to grow into an amazing woman.

    Happy Birthday, 9 year old Chickie!

  13. Kimberly

    Happy birthday Chickadee. I hope nine is an exciting adventure for you, in all the right ways.

    And hooray for birthday cupcakes!

  14. LadyBug Crossing

    Pink frosting – the strawberry kind tastes yucky… it has to be buttercream. You didn’t have anything better to do, did you?? LOL!!
    Happy birthday to your sweet Chickadee!!

  15. Sara

    Happy Birthday, Chickie. Wishing 9 to be a bajillion times more awesome than eight in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.
    Fabulous post, Mir.

  16. Karen

    Happy Birthday, Babygirl.

    Mir, that was moving. *sniff*

  17. Debbie H

    Hang on tight because in a blink of an eye this little Chickadee will be 19, out in the real world and these precious memories will be just that, a precious memory. Happy Birthday! and many more!

  18. Amy

    Happy Birthday, Chickadee! Nine is awesome! Enjoy.

  19. Contrary

    Happy Birthday, Chickadee! Man, you’re getting old.

  20. Bob

    hippo birdie, two ewes – Chickadee.

    the older they get, the faster these birthdays come around.

  21. Colleen

    *tear* Happy Birthday Chickadee..*hug*

    What a beautiful thing to share. Thank you. I’ll never forget that great picture of you after Chickadee was born..you glowed with joy. I can’t believe it’s been 9 years. *hug*

  22. rachel

    Happy Birthday Chickadee! BG is following you in just a couple weeks. eeep

    May there be at least a little sun on your day!

  23. Beachgal

    Aww….crying a bit.

    Happy Birthday Chickadee! You’ve got a great mama as an example of what kind of woman to grow up into. But stay a little girl a bit longer for her, k?

  24. chris

    Happy Birthday Chickadee.

  25. jenn2

    Happy Last Year Of Single Digits, Chickie. Drama Queen tells me the Double Digits rule.

  26. Brigitte

    I love your letters to Chickadee and Monkey – I think “Love Thursday” just happened a day early!

  27. maggie

    And a discerning Chickadee to ask for pink BUTTERCREAM, not the stuff from the can! Happy Birthday!

  28. Aimee

    *weep* Happy Birthday, Chickadee! I have a feeling that nine’s going to be your best year yet.

  29. Shalee

    Happy “Last Year In Single Digits” Chickadee. And just think, on your next birthday, you’ll need two hands (unless you sign it). And my friend, you and my daughter would do well together. She is also of the pink buttercream frosting family and her cake MUST BE CHOCOLATE. I like that she’s such a girl!

  30. Tal

    Just what I needed, a cry on a Wednesday morning…

    Beautiful post. Happy birthday Chickadee!

  31. Zuska

    Wah!! I am way too hormonal today!!

    The happiest of birthdays to you, Chickadee – enjoy your last year in single digits.

  32. cce

    You capture a mother’s unconditional love and familiarity with her child’s gifts and foibles so well, with such honesty and candor. I appreciate that. We love them, warts and all; we see the beauty in them more clearly than any one else, because they are part of us.
    Happy Birthday Chickadee!

  33. shannon

    happy birthday chickie!!

  34. el-e-e

    I’m just… awestruck at your incredible talent with words, Mir. That was breathtaking. Happy birthday to Chickie.

  35. Kbee

    Happy birthday, Chickie!! And I totally can find a place for those cupcakes, you know, in case you have extra…

  36. Liise

    Last year of single digits, it’s all downhill from there Chickadee enjoy being 9 to the fullest. :)

  37. jackie

    Happy Birthday Chickadee.

    Mir I just want to say I truely enjoy reading your work. I would love to read a book you have written. You just pull a reader in and wrap them up in your words. Please e-mail me with any other blogs you write…. if you have time between the move, saleing of the house and the wonderful kids.

    Thank you for being you!

  38. BOSSY

    If you don’t have school can you mail one of those cupcakes to Bossy? Maybe two?

  39. liz

    Happy birthday, Beautiful Chickadee!!!
    Jackson sends you hugs. He just can’t type (legibly) yet. :)

  40. Kris

    For Chickadee:

  41. Allanna

    I hope that Chickadee has a great birthday.
    (And that the weather starts treating YOU right. … ‘Cause if it doesn’t start behaving, I’m going to have to kick its butt. Or its cloud. Or whatever.)

  42. Em

    Hope it is a wonderful birthday celebration!!

  43. Carol

    Gah! That brought tears to my eyes!

    Happy 9th Birthday, Chickadee!

  44. Sheila

    My oldest just turned 9 two Fridays ago, and I found myself strangely caught up in the “another set of nine years and you’ll be out the door” feeling. How can that BE?

    I hope nine brings Chickadee everything wise and wonderful.

  45. angelfeet

    Happy Birthday, Chickadee.

    Beautiful words, Mir, you must stop making us cry.

  46. Melanie

    Happy Birthday, Chickadee! That was gorgeous, Mir, and I bet she’ll treasure it forever.

  47. Lisa

    Mir, That was so beautiful. I am 43 years old as of April 14th. My mother died Jan 7, 2000. She was my best friend. My dad died a year ago. This was my first birthday without either of my parents. When I read your words for Chickadee, I could feel my mother there. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. Thank you for that. That may be the best birthday gift I have ever gotten. Bless you!

  48. MammaLoves

    That is gorgeous!!

    Happy Birthday!

  49. elswhere

    Chickie is growing up so wonderfully.

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