The first day of the last year

By Mir
August 8, 2011

So. Seven years ago, when I started blogging, Chickadee was but a precocious 6-year-old finishing kindergarten. She alternately delighted and infuriated me, and I worried about her (a lot).

Today she is a precocious 13-year-old, starting her last year of middle school. She alternately delights and infuriates me, and I still worry about her, but less than I used to. She’s getting where she needs to go, even if that does mean she’s snarly and grouchy and mostly unappreciative of the fact that I made her a special breakfast and packed her the lunch she requested. Instead of saying “I’m sorry” she texted me from the bus to complain that she was the first one on and it would be a long ride and IF ONLY I’d let her take her iPod with her she’d have something to do. (My response: “Oh well. If only you weren’t so rotten.”)

We butt heads. We laugh together until we can’t breathe. I drive her crazy and embarrass her, and she takes me for granted and doesn’t listen until I get mad. She’ll be taller than me by the end of the school year, but I bet she’ll still sit on my lap.

I can’t believe she’ll be in high school next year, but at the same time I know she’ll be fine. She’s getting to where she needs to be.

This is the first time in about a decade that she’s started some form of out-of-the-house care or school without her brother. He’ll be on his way to Hippie School in a couple of weeks, but while she carefully donned her new uniform clothes he was commenting on how awesome it is that he can just do math right at the table! In his pajamas! Because how crazy is THAT? The full-body “first day” pictures Otto shot depict Chickadee carefully coiffed, with her tie just so, scrubbed and gleaming, with Monkey sitting beside her in his pajamas (with bedhead, to boot). Nice.

I feel like just the one pair of shoes seems a little lonely, but I guess that’s befitting of her newly-adopted Emo/Goth/Manga-lover persona.

And so she’s off, and it feels like everything is about to change.

Monkey suggested we bake some cookies today. “You know, for Chickie, to celebrate her first day back to school. I think that would be a really nice snack for her when she gets home, don’t you, Mom?”

Some things won’t be changing, I guess. And yes, we’ll be making those cookies. I bet if I play my cards right, Chickadee might even let me pour her a glass of milk to go with ’em.


  1. Jan in Norman, OK

    Happy 1st day of school, Chickie. Love your shoes.

  2. jennifer

    awesome shoes. I love your family.

  3. Daddy Scratches

    Great read. Also? Terrifying. My daughter just turned six. I fear adolescence.

  4. Morgaine Fey

    I love the way things seem to be (slowly) coming together for you Mir! I have to say though…I kind of want to push Chickie down and steal her shoes. Those suckers are eight kinds of awesome… And I am a thirty year old Goth who should know better!

    Much love from a stranger in KC, MO. You are the alternate bright spot/heartache of my morning. I love how you share your life this way!


  5. Jean

    Just catching up on your posts after the weekend and I have to say, your tone is 1000% more confident and sure!

    As always, you have put your thoughts in such a way as to make us all feel as if we’re right there with you. And you know what? We really are. If moral support can come through the air, you are wallowing in it.

    Best to you and the new school year, Mir!

  6. KirstyB

    Love the shoes! Where did you find them? Happy first day of school, Chickie!!

  7. Em

    Best shoes ever. Clearly, even though they aren’t together they are close in their hearts. I love Monkey for his cookie suggestion (and I’m sure it was TOTALLY selfless :-) Happy first day to Chickie!

  8. Nicole

    I totally need a pair of those shoes, super cool!

  9. Alison C

    Hi Chickie,
    I know we all send love and best wishes to Monkey but I hope you know that we are all rooting for you too.
    I hope you have a great year ahead at school, though reading what your mom wrote about band camp and orientation night at school I know you will rock it!

  10. Rachel

    Ditto what AllisonC said. Also how sweet of Monkey to think of cookies for Chickie on her 1st day. Maybe she’ll even share with him. ;)

  11. Aimee

    Aw… I love the first day of school posts. I also love Chickadee’s shoes! Happy first day of school — enjoy it!

  12. Megan

    Fabulous shoes – and just right for the nascent emo/goth/mangling (hmmm… that didn’t sound quite right…)

    Enjoy the emo phase by the way, it’s hilarious, and even funnier when the emolette outgrows it and recognizes how utterly ridiculous it was!

  13. hollygee

    I LOVE Chickie’s shoes. I wan ’em.

  14. hollygee

    Enjoy the cookies and the first day. And all of the new beginnings.

  15. Jeanmarie

    Not nice Mir – who wants to start their Monday sitting at their desk sobbing?? :-)

  16. Tenessa

    Love your shoes, Chickie!

  17. liz

    I want those shoes.

  18. elz

    Oh man, I feel like I’ve been right there with her as she’s grown. Go Chickie! Take on the world. Our first day of school is in 2 weeks and my BABY heads to Kindergarten. I’m already sniffling over here!

  19. Beth R

    @Megan – I think the correct form is “gothling” :)

    In response to everyone asking where you got her shoes? I don’t know, but I’ll guarantee you they were a great deal!

    Does her uniform code allow for crazy mismatched socks?

    Happy that things look like they’re lining up for you and yours… and doing math in your pajamas? Crazy!

    Hugs to all!

  20. Mama Bear

    LOVE Chickies shoes, and my 13 year old is demanding to know where she got them! Will you share?

  21. Anna

    It is kinda bittersweet, isn’t it? And, um… how do you put those shoes on? ;)

  22. Kelly

    Love the shoes!!!! Good luck Chickie!

  23. Caroline

    Ok Chickee….where’d your mama score those shoes?! Hawt!!! Oh and happy first day of school!

  24. Chuck

    VERY cool shoes, indeed.

  25. Tracy B

    How awesome to have freshly baked cookies on your first day of the last year of middle school??? I’m so jealous! And those shoes…I ♥ them!!!!

  26. bj

    Yes, cool shoes. Where can I buy them? I love hearing about chickadee, and if she’s like mine, she’ll like sitting down and reading all about little girl, tween, young woman chickadee as she grows older.

  27. RuthWells

    You are making me cry.

  28. el-e-e

    Hope she has a wonderful year! (Hope you ALL do!)

  29. TC

    My big girl DOES start high school…in just 21 days. WAAAAHHHHH!

    It’s OK that I’m very very very very jealous of how you’ve fixed things for Monkey (wishing I could do the same but can’t), while also being really really really really proud of you, too, right?

  30. Meredith

    It was a day of firsts for us – first year in high school for my oldest, first year of middle school for my twins. First day I was not allowed to enter the room with either of the younger two. I did not even get a hug from my baby. At least she let me walk her to her class. Now I’m trying to decided if she will be happy that I baked cookies for her snack or miffed that I made them without her. Probably better to wait for her to get home. There is just nothing like the ire of a 6 year old….except maybe the ire of a teen-aged girl.

  31. My Kids Mom

    They change, and they stay the same.

    I’m happy that you’ve got some solutions up your sleeve. They bounce– children, that is. We worry that they’ll break but they don’t. You seem to be doing just the right thing for Monkey- I hope it works out to be as good as it sounds.

    Have a good school year!

  32. karen

    Those shoes are soooooo cool. Can a 46 year old get away with wearing them?

  33. addy

    Happy First Day Chickie!! Enjoy yourself. Hope you like Monkey’s fresh baked cookies…..

  34. Monique

    8th grade?!!! I remember 8th grade, I thought I was so cool & grown up. And it was so much fun with being the oldest kids in school, 8th grade graduation, “grad” night (we went to six flags), yearbook, etc. I think Chickee is going to have the best year ever! Don’t worry Mir, she’ll be fine. :)

    PS. If you must freak out about something (cuz, you know, we all “know” you & you’re a mom which equals worry), how about I just tell you 8th grade (13) is when I met my husband. You’re welcome!!!

  35. Crista

    Add my shoe love to the list! She’ll probably never wear them again once you tell her all these “old farts” love her shoes ;).
    8th grade was a blast! I’m pretty sure Chickie is going to have a blast also :D

  36. dad

    Oh man! Do all the golden moments need to e so bittersweet?

    My grand baby is all grown up and wears funky shoes.

  37. Daisy

    Cookies – great idea.
    Shoes – so cool!
    Empty nest – that’ll be us, at least during the week, when school starts. My baby attends a residential school for the blind. My older baby just moved to the big city of Milwaukee to work in a boutique. Deep sigh.

  38. Little Bird

    Oh, the first day of school. How very well I remember that day. Just wait until it’s her first day of Senior year. It’ll be amazing how it feels.
    And let me just say that I love the shoes too!!

  39. Kathy

    Laughing as per usual! You’ve just gotta love our grouchy/wonderful 13 year olds! Good thing they were cute when they were little … if we had only known!! LOL!!

    Triple love Chickee’s new shoes. Can you tell me where they’re from? We don’t go back to school for over FOUR weeks … so I’ve still got time to procure the required pair of snazzy shoes!

    What a sweet, gentle heart Monkey has. I hope his sister was properly pleased when she returned home to cookes. Lucky girl!

    Have a wonderful week, friend!


  40. Liza

    LOVE the shoes. She is her mother’s daughter, isn’t she?

  41. Cele

    I was the teen from Hell and my mom survived, and even likes me (of course 40 years have passed since I was a teen). You will survive, Chickie will survive, cookies will be eaten.

  42. The Mommy Therapy

    Your posts about Chickadee always make me equally terrified and hopeful for my future with my daughter. I love that she’s growing up, but you clearly are not losing her.

    Happy new beginnings.

  43. Midj

    Wonderful first day post. I always look forward to the first day of school shoe pic… I think there should have been one of pic of Monkeys toes next to those great shoes…

    My youngest is off to college in two weeks… I feel the same way about him. He’s not quite “there” yet but definitely on his way…


  44. David

    So our 12 year old daughter got her new wallabies for her first day of 7th grade. The tween peer pressure is mounting, she thinks they’re ugly but that’s what the stubbies wear. That’s her term for the popular fashion-forward kids.

    As we do from time to time before a milestone event, we joined hands and prayed for Em’s first day of school. Sara and I prayed she’d find her locker and her classes and that it would all go well for her. Then to our surprise Em prayed a special blessing for the teachers. Warmed our hearts. It must be that part of being a tween is going back and forth between selfish and selfless.

  45. Cheryl M.

    I can’t wait to hear how Monkey likes the Hippie School. And please…tell Chickie those shoes totally rock! They’re like a combination of Funky Buckle Boots and Converse All-Stars I used to love! I had a black pair of All-Stars I wore until the soles fell off, lol.

  46. Katie in MA

    She has *excellent* taste in shoes, yo.

    And yes, things are probably most definitely going to change – but in a very glittery, about damn kind, awesomely fantabulous kinda way. For everyone. :)

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