And so here we are

By Mir
September 24, 2012

Left to my own devices, I don’t often find it hard to write. My head is always full of STUFF—some of it important, plenty not—and the STUFF gets tangled up with pesky FEELINGS and then there is something about the act of extracting those things from my skull and committing them to letters and punctuation and letting other people see it that helps me make sense of things. It helps me to make sense of ME.

That’s inherently selfish, and I know it. Then again, a lot of things are. I’m not convinced the way I’m compelled to write is any worse than anything else, but I know this about it. I do pay a lot of attention to how I involve others—my family, my friends, random people—when I write, and I am all-too-often aware that the human penchant for personalization means there is no avoiding pissing people off. That, too, is part of the territory. Most of the time I don’t mind; I am careful, and if you read something I didn’t actually write (or construct something I didn’t intend), that’s on you, not me.

During the last however many months of feeling like life would never, could never, be normal again, my normally crunchy exterior shattered and left me exposed to pretty much everything right when I most wished to be impervious to others. It would probably be a good time to shut up.

The problem, of course, is that I have never been very good at shutting up.

For every drive-by ZOMG YOU ARE A TERRIBLE PERSON AND A HORRIBLE MOTHER AND HOW DARE YOU there are countless people who have shown my family love and support during an awful ordeal, and dozens of folks who reached out to quietly say “We thought we were the only ones.” For me, that’s enough to know that I can’t succumb to fear of judgment. I’m already being judged. My child is already being judged. Random people on the Internet do not bother me. The connections I’ve found (or who’ve found me) are worth the risk.

What does bother me is people who are not random, not theoretical, who have walked away from us because Oh, gosh, it’s just so… icky. Complicated. They thought maybe we wanted some space. They didn’t know what to say. They figured it would all blow over. Who knows. I have grappled for months with the reality that when the going gets tough, a lot of people get going as far away as fast as they can get away. I don’t have a huge circle; I never have, and it’s never bothered me. Quality over quantity and all that. But when you start out with not very many troops and so many of them desert, it’s hard not to feel the sting of that.

What bothers me is when twice in the last month two people who… oh, let’s say one of them used to be a key player in my life and the other should be… when THOSE people, those people who have not been here, those people who have turned away for whatever reasons they convinced themselves were justified, those people resurface just long enough to tell me I’m doing it wrong.

I should be able to laugh that off as easily as I laugh off Random Internet Crayzee, and yet I can’t. The gall of someone who SHOULD care, who should KNOW what’s happening here—not blog-know, you understand, but talk-to-us-and-really-know kind of know—coming around only long enough to find fault is… staggering. It sends me reeling. It pokes me in all my tender quivery no-matter-what-I-do-it’s-never-right kinds of places, the places I thought had healed over years (perhaps decades) ago.

Because I forgive the absent, after a fashion. I get that. It is weird/hard/uncomfortable. You don’t know what to say. You forget that while your life is going along as it always does that ours is in a holding pattern bounded by fear on one side and exhaustion on the other. You’ve never had a [fill in the blank with one or more of the following: kid, sick kid, mentally ill kid, family crisis, whatever] and you find it hard to relate. Or the last time you talked to me I was tired and overwrought and maybe I snapped or didn’t say exactly the right thing and so you convinced yourself that probably I didn’t even want you to let me know you still gave a shit about my child. I hate it but I get it.

But to abandon us and only return long enough to say I HAVE JUDGED AND FOUND YOU WANTING doesn’t so much poke at my baggage as it unzips it and unpacks it by simply dumping it all over the floor. And although it’s my baggage making the mess, I still have trouble understanding how anyone would feel okay about doing that to someone. I can only conclude that they lack understanding of how badly it hurts, because I just cannot grok people I loved doing that on purpose. Still. Knowing it’s unintentional, knowing people don’t mean to let you down or wound you on purpose… that helps, I guess, but it doesn’t stop it from sucking, particularly when everything aches.

Point here being: Did I think, do I always, every day, at least once, think to myself, “Just stop. Don’t say anything, don’t write anything, that way no one can ever say YOU DID IT WRONG.”? Sure. There are days when it feels like I just can’t bear even one more thing, however small. There are PLENTY of days when I don’t need anyone to help me feel like I’ve failed, fuckyouverymuch.

But there are a lot more days when it feels like writing in general, and writing here, in specific, kept me sane through some unimaginable times. Plus I believe in the power of words to remind us that we can handle more than we ever thought we could, because look—remember back then, when it seemed so awful, and see how now we know it turned out okay? (I am looking forward to the “now we know it turned out okay” portion of this particular program, but I’ve felt it happen before. I have to believe it will again.)

The story I want to tell you is that Chickadee got sick and then she got better and we all lived happily ever after. THE END! That it was hard and I hated it and then it was okay.

The story I ended up telling you was that Chickadee got sick and then she got better and then she got sick and then she got better and then she got sick and I fought with the hospital and the insurance and the government and I drove fifty gazillion tampons to the hospital (thank you) while driving back and forth and back and forth going to therapy and hassling her doctors and bringing her books and taking her out for ice cream and she’s still not better, but something has to change.

The story I want to tell you now doesn’t even matter so much, in the details. It can be summed up like this: I have held on tight for fourteen and a half years, and something had to change. So I let go. And here I am talking about it, THE NERVE OF ME, because otherwise it might eat me up from the inside out.

When Chickie begged me on the phone to tell her what to do, this weekend, tell her which one to pick, WHY WON’T YOU TELL ME WHAT’S BEST FOR ME, I’M ONLY A KID, YOU ARE BEING A TERRIBLE MOTHER, I stood my ground. I told her, and I believe, that her healing starts with taking back control of her own life. She told me through tears that she never believed I would actually let her go, and I told her again that it’s her choice to make and I hope that she’ll look back on making it as the beginning of when things got better.

I didn’t tell her that life will always bring you someone who finds fault with your choices, and sometimes that hurts a lot. I didn’t tell her how I feel, because it has to be about how she feels. The rest of us are collateral damage. There’s a lot of stuff I’ll never tell her, probably, about this time. I suspect she knows a lot of it deep down, anyway.

I told her that I love her, that that will never change, and that I hope this is the first of many decisions towards rebuilding her life instead of just reacting to it. Because I do, it won’t, and I hope that’s what it is.

Please remind me of all of this as she comes up on leaving the hospital, because she’s decided she wants to try living with her dad, and I’m going to let her.


  1. Susan

    Wow. I’m sorrier than you can imagine that you had judgement and loss of friends piled on top of everything else. I don’t know what to say other than that, and how much I do admire you. You are a wonderful writer too.

  2. Magpie

    I’m a little choked up. Here’s to a healthy Chick, but oof that must be hard on you. Wonderful mom, you giving her the space, but oof.

  3. Isabel

    You are in my prayers and thoughts! ALL of you! I wish you peace.


  4. Little Bird

    Oh, Mir! I’ve never met you, but I get the distinct feeling you need a hug. This can’t be easy for you. I wish you and the whole fam damily the very best.

  5. Leah

    Keeping all of you in my prayers. What a horribly difficult situation.

  6. jodifur

    Oh Mir, you are not doing it wrong, you are doing so many things right.

  7. Wendy

    I think that your girl could not have a better mama in all the world, and for those that cannot see that, clearly they are blind. For what it’s worth from a total stranger, I think you are brave and wonderful and I am proud of you.

  8. Catherine

    I agonize with you. This must be so terrible, and yet, she wishes it. I hope the all the best outcomes for all.

  9. Carrie

    Hugs… That’s all I can give are great big hugs. I’ll keep you in my thoughts as I can only imagine how difficult that decision was. :(

  10. Kylie

    Oh sweetie, Sending you much strength and love. You are an incredible Mama…thinking of Chickie first. I know you can’t think any other way, but you really are fabulous. Much love to you xxx

  11. Kate in Michigan

    Oh, dear. What a …. comprehensive post.

    People are stupid and unkind sometimes, and sometimes they just don’t know how to do that “say something nice or don’t say anything at all” thing.

    And letting her make some choices is just about the only thing that will hand the problem to her. I’m thinking in 10 years or 5, she’ll look back and see this as the time she started her adult life.

  12. Headless Mom

    Oh Mir. Those people who judge you? Who say terrible things? The ones who are supposed to know better/more of the situation? I’m so so sorry for their behavior. I have to believe that they are temporarily insane. I sure hope that you can really feel the internet luv tonight.

    I don’t comment often but I do want you to know that I read every word you write and pray for you, and Chickie, and Otto and Monkey daily. You guys are doing the best you can in a shitty situation.

    I hope she finds what she is looking for. xoxo

  13. Wendy E

    Wow, very hard decision to let her make. But one you are correct in letting her make. People are so judgemental it is ridiculous, and rude, and obnoxious. Not sure what to say, but I will say, kudos to you for letting her make the decision.

  14. Mary Fran

    As always, thinking of you and your family. And I have to think that when Chickie is on the other side of all this, she’ll understand how much strength and courage you had to let her go. It may not be for a while, but it will hit her that only because you love her could you ever let her leave. (and the cynic in me is thinking that it won’t last long until she’s begging to come back – but I’ll wait for that blog post…)

  15. Ingrid

    I am so sorry. You are a wonderful mom. I wish you lived closer so I could give you a hug. :(

  16. divrchk

    I wish you all luck in this time of transition. This is not an easy decision for anyone. I’m sure many are heartbroken. How is Monkey handling things? If only the choice was cut and dry.

  17. Angela

    I’m so sorry! I will tell you though, as we stood at the door bawling two weeks ago ready to walk out and take my 8 year old to the psych ward only to have him fall down and cry his heart out into exhaustion over the next hour (and not taking him in) I thought of you. As we’ve made it through these last two weeks with meds and labs and doctors appointments I’ve thought of you. As I try like hell to help find out what is wrong with my kid (physically in addition to all the psych stuff) I think of you. I’m so grateful you’ve shared your story, it gives strength and is a constant reminder that other people get it. So thank you.

    My heart is breaking for you. We are praying and sending love your way.

  18. Emily

    Oh lord Mir. I’m so sorry your family is going through this in addition to everything else.

    You’re doing the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt. Unless you can see the future, there’s nothing you can do about it.

    Maybe a change of venue will help her change her perspective and take responsibility. Maybe it will be horrible and she’ll see just how good she had it with you. I think at this point you need to breath. I’m not going to offer any more advice, because I don’t know what to say.

    If I could, I’d give you a great big hug right now.

  19. Jenn C.

    Holy cow, Mir, I was not expecting that at all. I can’t imagine how you feel, but as hard as it is, I think letting her make that choice, no matter how much it hurts you is te best thing for her – letting her have that control and ownership of her life is the right move. But jesus, I can’t even…

    As for the others, thinking they have ANY place to criticize you, well, fuck em. Easy to say from the cheap seats over here, a lot harder to do when it’s your life and friends, but I hope you found the wherewithal to tell them exactly where they could put their opinions.

  20. Tammy

    Oh Mir. Big hugs & prayers coming your way from the not-yet-frozen north. I’m so in awe of you being able to let chickie make her own decisions and doing your best to keep your opinion on the situation to yourself. I would fail miserably in that attempt. I think you deserve some wine. Yes, yes definitely.

  21. Ruth

    Oh Mir….you are very wise. Love ya girl. xoxo

  22. MomQueenBee

    You have chosen to be a wonderful mother. If you were not writing this down, you could not possibly realize how wonderful you are because the pain would be blinding. Blessings to you, and healing for your heart.

  23. Sara

    Oh. Oh, Mir.

    You are NOT doing it wrong. I am so gobsmacked by your goodness and bravery and raw, unadulterated love for your children.

    I know how hard this must be for you. Bless you for doing it anyway.

  24. RuthWells

    Oh god, how can people suck so badly? I banish them. You are doing EVERYTHING RIGHT. And I am more than a little broken hearted that she’s going to her dad, and I firmly believe it’s the right decision.

    Sending light and love.

  25. LisaB

    Oh Mir. We don’t know each other, but I like so many others, have read your blog for years. I feel like your family is the family next door. Your writing has so many times lifted me up out of my own drama or at the very least given me something to inspire me to move forward. You are an incredibly strong, talented, level-headed woman. I would be proud to call you my daughter, sister, or friend. You are a caring mother who tries…really tries to do the right thing for her children. During this very difficult time you and your family have been dealing with, I think anyone with any sense couldn’t help but be impressed with how you are handling EVERYTHING! You are not perfect, but you are pretty spectacular. If there is anything I am sure of it is that your daughter knows in her heart that you love her with all of your heart. No one can know what the future holds, but I am absolutely sure that you have done everything possible to ensure she has a chance to survive and thrive. Some of the work she has to do and I pray with all of my heart that she is willing and able to do what needs to be done. I wish I had an answer or could make it go away. All I have is a cyber hug and lots of prayers and good vibes for you and chickie and your family. And for those who think you are doing it wrong. Tell them to f off!! Or give me their individual emails or phone numbers and I will gladly tell them for you!!!!!

  26. Stimey

    Mir, I love you. Those people can’t know what you’re going through. I know it must have been such a hard decision to let her make her decision and it must hurt you for her to live with her dad, but you are such a good mom and for your girl, it is your instincts that matter. Love to your whole family.

  27. zchamu

    You know, sometimes, the people who drop off and then come back just to drive-by snipe did the right thing in the first place: They couldn’t say anything nice so they chose not to say anything at all. Not everyone agrees with what everyone else does. That’s the world. It hurts, but it’s OK. And sometimes it’s appropriate to pipe up with differing opinions. But sometimes, in situations like yours, if someone disagrees with you the best thing really is to shut their pie holes because they aren’t there. They aren’t living it. And they just need to stay quiet because saying something judgmental isn’t going to do any good. And so if they choose to walk away in order to do that, then more’s the better. But then for some reason they come back and their better mouth-shut judgment is overridden by their NEED to SAY what’s on their MIND then it’s obvious that they care more about flapping their mouths than they do about doing the right thing.

    And good luck with the living situations – for all of you.

  28. elz

    Oh honey, I have nothing to say. I can’t imagine your pain. I only hope that this helps Chickadee on her road to recovery, however long that may be.

  29. laura

    This is one of those times when I find myself tearing up and knowing with absolute certainty that my tears will not make one bit of difference. My heart hurts for you.

  30. erika

    Oh! So didn’t see that coming. I wish that somewhere (through the magic of the internet!) I could somehow take some of your pain from you, some of your burden and carry it awhile.
    I can’t imagine how you feel, can’t imagine those bazillion parenting decisions that you must make, can’t imagine.
    There are people that love you and care for you. People that lift you and your family up in prayer, because that is all they can do. People that think you are fantastic and a fantastic mother. I am these people.

  31. El-e-e

    You are a model parent! How anyone could say anything different is beyond me. God bless you, Mir, and Chickie. This is a brave post, a brave decision, and lots of us admire you deeply.

  32. The Domestic Goddess

    Gosh, this is all too hard. Too darn hard.

    For the record, I’ll never walk away from you. And neither will “the group.”

  33. Veronica

    I lurk and I’m sorry for that, but I’m hearing you. My daughter is currently in and out of hospital and the people who SHOULD be there to help haven’t been and the judgy, oh man, the judgy.

    I hope this is the beginning of Chickie getting better. I hope that you’ve got plenty of stuff to ease your heart ache while it happens. xxxx

  34. Jen

    You are doing a great job. A freaking amazing job, Mir. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. I’m sorry anyone has ever made you doubt it.

    I want to have wise words, but all I’ve got is hope for a better tomorrow and lots of love for you and yours for today.

  35. s

    oh Mir – I can’t even BEGIN to imagine how hard all of this is, and how difficult it must be to let go – I hope this brings healing, hope, safety, and peace to all of you. And I’m sorry that you have not only been abandoned by those who should know better, but also judged by those same. So sorry – and keep writing – it is so amazingly educational to those of us following this journey you and your family are on – you open my eyes and my heart with each post.

  36. Em

    Oh Mir. I don’t even know what to say. I wish for the peace you have about this 20 years from now visits you sooner. This has to hurt. I wish the prayers of everyone on here could take that hurt away but obviously, it can’t. You can have mine anyway.

  37. StephLove

    I’m so very sorry for the lack of support from certain people in your life. I hope being in a new place helps Chickadee start fresh. I don’t know any off-blog details, obviously, but it does sound as if you and her father have really pulled together and worked as a team during this crisis. I hope that continues. I know you will miss her terribly, as will Otto & Monkey.

  38. Holly

    I’ve restarted this message 10 times. Words, as healing and motivating as they may be, just don’t seem enough right now. I haven’t been in the same situation, I don’t have children and I don’t know what it’s like to be you.

    But, as someone who has been forced to chose between career and caring for family, who has lost friends who just don’t get that my values have changed and as much as I want to I don’t have time to attend a 1-year-old birthday party, who has struggled with forgiving people who just don’t understand and say things that cut me deep……..

    Pain is pain. And long term pain, the kind stretched out with bouts of hope and dreams and willpower and just putting 1 foot in front of the other to make it to tomorrow where things just maybe might be better or maybe I’ll feel better about it, stronger and more able to handle it….

    As much as I don’t understand what you’re going through in your situation I also think that I maybe get it, a little bit. And I’m sorry I can’t make it a little bit better. Cause sometimes a little bit better is enough to get through tomorrow or even the day after.

    As awful as your situation is, somehow, I feel better. Not because you’re in pain. But because I know that you value what you’re fighting for just as I value what I’m fighting for. And that gives me hope that the fight is worth it.

    I hope you’ll keep posting, letting us cheer for you from our separate worlds. It means so much to know that I’m not alone in my thoughts.

  39. Kristina

    You’re doing the truth. So is Chickadee. It’s what it is. And the universe wants harmony – the better we are at listening to our gut and our heart, the easier it is for the universe to do its job. Hang in there. You are brave. And strong. And generous to share. Thank you.

  40. Liza

    Oh god.

    First, I am incredibly sorry that there are people who Really. Should. Be. There. In. Support. who instead are judging and withdrawing.

    Second, I’m sorry I haven’t been there as much as I’d like to be. In 3 more weeks, I hand in my preliminary exams, and I am a giant muck of stress myself. But I love you and your family and when I come up for air, this is one of the places I come.

    Last, and most importantly of all, I want to acknowledge you for being the loving, empowering mom you are. I hope hope hope hope hope that Chickadee is making a choice that begins her healing, and I can’t even tell you how much I hope that the fears and doubts I know you have, turn out to be just fears and doubts, not concrete reality. I will be thinking about you and your family so often.

    (I almost don’t even want to ask this, but does Monkey know? How is he?)

  41. Katy

    I kept reloading the page, waiting for someone else to comment, because I needed to know what to say. And they all have beautiful things to say, but … there really is nothing to be said. Life sort of sucks. However, I know I am not alone in my admiration for your frankness – and you are not alone, in any of this. Rock on, Mir, and all my love goes out to Chickie as she takes these next steps.

  42. Christine H.

    Thank you for writing this post. I hope that I have not judged others in their handling of situations, when all they needed was an ear or a hug or just to be told it’s okay. I will think of your words often.

    I was gutted when I read the last sentence. That must be one of the hardest things to do as a parent – to let go. I am reminded of a line from Katherine Center’s “Defining a Moment” video – “You have to be brave with your life, so that others can be brave with theirs.” And boy are you being brave. Thinking of you lots.

  43. MM

    About 10 years ago, I worked for several years in a residential treatment facility on a unit specializing in treating young women who were very similar to how you describe your baby; I then worked as an in-home family therapist. I say this as a teeny, tiny counterweight in favor of the “judgement” I am passing versus the heavy boulder thrown at you by those who “know” you. I think you hit on it exactly, she needs to make a decision and take some control. Aside from that, you, Otto, and Monkey may find some peace and healing in knowing that she’s out of the hospital and somewhere she is loved and safe while you all take some space to find your ways forward- and it’s ok to feel that way. Everyone was hurt by this, everyone suffers when one of the family unit is sick and everyone needs time and space to heal. The beauty of having two parents (well, three, lucky her!) is that one can pick up where the other leaves off and there is NOTHING, nothing, nothing wrong with that. Kudos to you for having the strength to let her make this choice, and for coming together as a family to make it happen. Good luck to her and all of you. You’re a wonderful mama.

  44. HG

    Mir. Those people can suck it. And I hope to be half the mother that you are. And those are truths. I’m not a particularly sentimental person, and I don’t mince words. So there you have it. Much love heading your way.

  45. suburbancorrespondent

    That’s great you gave her a choice! And it’s not like it is an irreversible decision, is it? She needs to figure all this out herself. And you – you could really use some respite from all the drama. I’m enjoying my respite right now. But why is she leaving so soon? Do you think she’s ready?

    I empathize with the seeming lack of caring (although I do think people are just at a loss) and with the stupid things people can say (again, they are just trying to formulate it in their minds as something that could NEVER happen to them because they would do things RIGHT). And really, without similar experience, I would have fallen into one of those two groups of people.

  46. ailo

    I’m sorry, so sorry. I wish the story had an immediate happy ending. We all believe in an eventual one.

  47. Theresa

    Those people who come back into your life only long enough to pass judgement and then walk away? They do it for their own ego. They feel empowered to be able to say, “If I were in your situation, I would have done X,Y, and Z and it all would have been fabulous and the birds would sing and the world would be a better place.” Yeah…right. What a crock.

    No one and mean NO ONE can stand in your shoes and comprehend the decisions and choices you are making every single day. And for anyone to think they “know better” obviously has a superiority complex!

    Trust me. It is an ego thing. It is the same with those people who put down everyone else in the room because it makes THEM feel bigger. I actually pity those people. They have tiny lives and always will.

    You hold your head up proud Mir. You are doing it right and doing every step out of love. And you have a huge cheerleading section in your readers who think you are the Cat’s Meow (which I think is a good thing).

    Oh and one more thing…Your writing rocks.

  48. Maria


    I just found out that a 14 yo niece is going through something similar to your daughter. It’s in a different country, and I had to translate to the mother some of what you wrote. I feel that knowing what happened to you helped a lot to reduce the guilt the mother was feeling -if a mother like you (an example to many) can go through this, clearly there is no reason for the mother to feel responsible (you will never know how much this helped ease the pain).

    So thank you. There might be an element of selfishness in your writing, but I believe that there must be many families that are being helped by the experiences you share in your blog, like mine was.For that, my deepest thank you. I’m really sorry writing about it brought criticism on you, but only a clueless person would dare to judge anything you do. Stay strong!

  49. Faith

    You are an amazing mother, and you have made wise choices for yourself and Chickie, giving her all the help she needs to continue on, regardless of her choice. Thank you for sharing this side of yourself with us, in spite of everything. The bravest thing parents can do is let their children break their hearts with their choices, but soldier on and love as you do. Because one day, I promise, she will know.

    And to those who are not offering support, who are criticising, please stop. You’re supposed to be the ones who care. If you’re not making it better, stop making it worse. It’s the least you can do if you haven’t been there to help Mir.

  50. Angela

    I hope Chickie’s decision brings clarity to her about exactly the types of changes she needs to make, and in the end it brings you two back closer to each other than ever. I wish you both the best as always.

  51. Jan

    So that last line made ME feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut and I mention that only to say that I can only begin to fathom the incredible pain it must bring you.

    Also, a little part of me wants to waltz right over there and shake that girl HARD until she comes to her senses. Which, of course, would not work, but it does not stop me from wanting it.

    It of course doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things what I think, but for whatever little bit it’s worth, I think you’re are a fantastic mama and that you are showing unimaginable strength right now. I fervently wish that you didn’t have to, but you are.

    Count me along with the whole interwebz in holding you in my thoughts and wishing all good thoughts for every one of you.

    (P.S. LIttleBird wins a prize from me for best understatement with this comment:

    Oh, Mir! I’ve never met you, but I get the distinct feeling you need a hug.


  52. Debbi

    Been there. Hated it. It all worked out for the best. But it’s hard. Way hard. And I’m so sorry.

  53. Michelle E

    I have very little time to myself these days and specifically right now as I’m getting kids ready for bed. However I always read as soon as I see that you have a new post for a lot of reasons that boil down to: You have made me care about you and your family. This whole situation sucks and it isn’t fair and it’s easy to say it’ll get better but you have to live through it first. The only thing I can say right now is that the love and courage it takes to let your child make that choice to live with the other parent is enormous and beyond brave. It’s so much that I don’t think I would have the strength to do and I admire you greatly for it.

  54. Paige

    Your daughter is alive. You are doing things right. I wish I could say to just write off the people who walk away…but fuck. It hurts so badly.

    Hang on, hang on, hang on. Even if that’s all you’re doing…hanging on by your fingernails. That’s the heroic bit, that hanging on.

    I may not comment here on every post, but I want you to know that I think about you and your family every single day, that I send good thoughts and positive vibes and prayers and as much good juju as I can find.

    And I am still holding the mental picture of your family, alive and healthy and whole, up to the universe.

  55. Trish


  56. Pam

    Again, I don’t know what to say to make it all better for you. I wish I did. I know that my heart aches for you and that you and your family are in my prayers. You are an exceptional MOM and God will bless you for that always. Thank God for that wonderful man of yours!! He always makes me smile. Hanging in there must be very painful, but you are amazing and I will continue to look forward to hearing from you every day. Hugs and prayers………..

  57. Michelle

    Oh my, wings at 14 1/2. You are both so very brave and I’ve got my fingers crossed and prayers breathed that you both will rise from these ashes and soar again.

    I often wish I knew you in person because then I could attempt to give back, your blog never fails to make me smile and often reminds me to be grateful, not only for the good things that I have but also for the bad stuff too. . .thank you!!

  58. Heather

    Oh, honey. <3 Sending you all so much love.

  59. DW

    I am not a writer or eliqent, but my heart breaks for you.

    I hope Chickadee finds what she needs to start taking control of her life again. I hope you, Otto and Monkey can start to heal from this huge ordeal. I wish you peace.
    I am so sorry.

  60. Beth in IA

    My heart is with your family, Mir. xoxo

  61. Kady

    So sorry, Mir. You have done everything a person could do in this situation (and really, who else would have come up with tampon-fest?). This is heart wrenching and my thoughts and love are with you all.

  62. Keryn

    I wish so very much that I had deep wisdom that I could share with you, to take away some of your pain and that we could peer into the crystal ball together and see the happy ending…but I don’t even have a crystal ball. And I have no words. All I can say is, I’m so sorry. I wish I knew what to say. I hope that you know we’re thinking of you. And I’d like to send you a virtual casserole (gluten-free) and pretty shoes.

  63. Ariel

    As if anyone does anything “all right”. As if such a thing exists…
    I have this inarticulate fear (till now) because I had a daughter with a man with severe bipolar disorder, who is the son of a woman with severe bipolar disorder, who was the daughter of a woman with severe bipolar disorder and schizophrenia…
    And I love my daughter, and I didn’t know about him and them, and I wouldn’t NOT have her…I wouldn’t UNDO her, even if I could. But I don’t know what I have done. What genetic legacy will my daughter inherit?
    So I read, with a now not so secret fear in my heart, sending all the love I have towards you and Chickie and Monkey and Otto, hoping for the best, and grateful that you are willing to share, because there might come a time when I need the wisdom you are sharing with us. Make no mistake, you are sharing wisdom.
    It is a mind-fuck, being a parent, knowing how hard it is to give our best, all the time, without the 100% knowledge of what the BEST thing at any given moment actually is…
    I can say, honestly, that you are amazing, and I wish I lived close, because I would come and sit and listen, and bring you coffee or anything else you wanted or needed, because I like you!

  64. Mary Beth

    I am here every day and never comment, but I just had to today. Please don’t ever let the negative comments make you stop what helps you cope. Tune them out and listen to the rest of us who admire you, support you, and are praying for you and your family every day. Sending you love, hugs, and prayers for peace and healing for your family.

  65. KarenP

    You are such a stong and brave woman for giving your daughter the power to choose for herself. If she doesn’t know now how much you love her she will some day. All the best to her and you as a family.

  66. Dave

    No judging here. Only virtual hugs.

  67. heather

    Oh Mir….
    In a same but different way, I related all too well to the people leaving the circle only swooping back in to tell me I was doing it wrong, in an area that I’m very baggage prone, and well, it hurt like Hell and I can only imagine how vulnerable you’re feeling now. Love you! As for chickie, I figured that’s the choice you were referencing the other night. I can only imagine how hard that was for you to concede, and I will continue to pray for you both.

  68. Amy-Go

    Oh Mir. Oh sweet Jesus. That was like being sucker punched in the gut. I can’t even begin to imagine how it feels to you. You are so unimaginably brave. And you are not letting her go! You are recognizing that sometimes the best way to hold on is loosely – to give her the freedom and the room and the power to heal herself and find her own way. Your unselfishness is stunning. Your love for your daughter is so painfully beautiful it literally takes my breath away. Anyone who can’t see that is blind, and utterly foolish, and no one to waste a moment’s sleep over.

    You hear that, Anyone? What a terrible friend you are. God forbid anything this awful should ever happen to you. Who will have YOUR back?

    I’m so sorry. And I’m still praying.

  69. Maria

    Oh, and by the way, living with her father may be exactly what
    your daughter needs to gain better perspective of what’s going on with her. I’m here celebrating for you ( since it’s so much easier being a third party) because 1) she is well enough to leave the hospital and 2) you are doing the opposite of insanity, which is to do the same thing expecting a different result. I have a good feeling about this change and will keep my fingers crossed that this will be the beginning of a full recovery. Sending your family the best possible wishes in the world.

  70. Julie

    Love to all of you. Every day.

  71. Ani

    May you continue to have strength and grace to make it through this difficult time. And the haters…screw ’em. It is in times like this that we discover who those who really belong in our lives are…and often, the ones we think would be, turn out not to. Hold your head up proudly, you are the 4-star general of the vagina warriors.

  72. Jen H.

    So many people have spoken so well above. I have nothing much to add except hugs. And the knowledge that I chose to live with my father when I was 13. Took me a while, but I realize now how much it cost my mother to let that happen. And now we are very close. She’s one of my best friends, stalwart supporter, and I really wouldn’t be where I am today if she hadn’t let me find my own way. I pray you have a similar happy ending.

  73. Beth R

    Just sending huge internet hugs to you and the whole family. You are an amazing mother and person and I hope you will believe us someday as we keep saying it.

  74. Karen R

    You’ve done it right. Every decision, every choice you have made has been based in love. And that is always the right choice. To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, when you have eliminated all other options, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, is the right option. Hugs, hopes, prayers — whatever you need, coming your way. Maybe it is time to take yourself out for some ice cream. Judgemental friends? Not worth your energy. Stick with the positive people.

    Take care.

  75. mandee


  76. Mariya

    You are a fabulous mother and I wish more people knew how to be supportive when a friend is going through a crisis. None of us know when our lives are going to explode and we’ll be the ones needing comfort and support.
    I also wish I knew why motherhood has to be so…humbling. It should be more like the baby product commercials I watched when I was pregnant.

  77. Liv

    I hope she finds what she thinks she will with her dad. I’m so sorry the hits keep on coming. Sending hugs, warm thoughts and prayers your way.

  78. Shannon

    I have just recently started reading your blog and I am so rooting for you.

    I recently went through a minor trauma in my life, and I had to deal with a lot of judgment. In lots of ways you describe – people that deserted me, but only sprang up to tell me that I was doing everything wrong. And in my vulnerable state, it made me even angrier than it otherwise would – How dare you judge me when you have no idea what I’m going through? How dare you kick me when I am down? How can I make people understand? Make people see?

    I have reached some peace in that I realize there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t change other people. I can only change my reaction to it. Easier said than done, but knowing that I can’t make people like me, or make people think I’m doing the right thing, is actually freeing.

    But being angry about it? I’m still working on that. :) The whole serenity thing.

    I wish you and your family nothing but the best. Thank you for sharing your journey with us – you are truly inspiring.

  79. C

    When I went through my struggles which were similar to Chickadee’s, I needed a change of environment. For my recovery to be complete I had to be able to stand on my own feet without the safety nets I already had. I also needed to be able to meet people and have them see me as ME and not as “the girl who went to a mental hospital.”

    From the other side I can’t imagine being strong enough to let go. But as someone who received the gift of being able to make my own way, and for whom that gift meant more than words can say, I’m sure your daughter appreciates it. Even if she cannot express that right now.

  80. Jenn

    Wow! What a scary, painful place for you and Chickie to be. I tell you, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the end of this story. I dearly want to read that Chickie’s better and coming home to stay and that you’ll move on to other, less tragic, challenges. And that post hasn’t come yet. But I’ll keep hoping. And pulling for you. Hang in there!

  81. Emily

    (((Mir))) Thanks for letting us walk alongside you during this excruciating time in your family’s life. It’s given me insight into what my mom must have gone through during my own teenage battle with mental illness and hospitalization and rejection/abandonment by all who I held dear. I’m rooting for you, and your Chickadee.

  82. The Other Laura

    Here I am some complete-internet-stranger but I want to say that your fierce love and courage has been so beautiful to see. You are, all of you, in my prayers.

  83. Gaylin

    I am amazed and constantly impressed with the time and effort that you put into caring for your family. I know the decision to let Chickie go to her dad’s must have been heart rending for you.

    Walk away from the negative people. They have no right to judge unless they have been exactly in your situation.

    Hugs from Canada, you are in my thoughts.

  84. Lucinda

    You are doing the best you can with the information you have at the time you make each decision. That’s all anyone can do and you are doing better than most. Now Chickadee will do the best she can with the information she has. It’s hard to let her because she has less experience than you and therefore less information than you. However, we all want to raise our children to be able to do for themselves. You are doing that. Despite how painful and hard it must be. My heart is breaking for you. Oh, and people can be such dicks. (What does it mean that I typed suck dicks first?)

  85. Cindy

    What to say that others above haven’t already. Oh Mir. Wow. Hugs. Love. Prayers.

    And good heavens, you can sure write.

  86. Jen

    I so very much wish I had words that would comfort. I wish I could take the hurt caused by those you care about. But the truth is that I can’t. I can tell you that I have experience with mental illness (both parents), that I have mental illness myself (depression and anxiety) and that every day I am scared that my son will fare the same. He is 4. He has ASD. Is this my fault, genetically? Will they take him from me because of the involvement of Child Welfare in my life (due to an abuse ex/his ‘father’)? I have no answers to this. And I don’t tell you these things in hopes of pity of kind thoughts. What you have written is powerful and true. What you have written is your experience, that of your family’s. One of the few things I have determined through my own life and extensive therapy is that no one, NO ONE has the right to censor or deny your own life experience. On your behalf I want to curse them, rail against them. So you do not have to waste your time or energy doing so. But it will never work. The judgers and naysayers and ‘I know better than you’ers are oh so abundant. I will say this. I am scared for Chickadee. I am scared for you. It will probably not help. But it is true.

  87. elswhere

    Thank you for writing about your life and your family’s life with such grace and clarity and honesty. It’s a gift to all of us who read. I hope that fear of some asshat’s judgment never stops you.

    I don’t comment so much any more, but I’m still reading. and pulling for you. and Chickie. For what it’s worth, I think you’re giving her an incredible gift, too. But you don’t need me to tell you that.

  88. Katherine

    Oh Mir. Please don’t stop writing – someone out there would probably feel that was somehow “wrong” as well, because there is always a someone like that, but the writing seems to help you and we care! I’m sorry that the people who know you better and should be there standing up for you are falling down on the job.

    I hope that going off to live with her Dad will give Chickadee a fresh start, and maybe that will help her. I hope that she is leaving the hospital because they think she will be ready.

    On the fresh start, my brother was in a residential facility many years ago (for almost 18 months) and when he started getting weekend passes, he was not allowed to go back home – my parents had to take him somewhere else, where he would not be tempted by the people/places he knew.

    I can’t wait to hear the time in the future when you will be able to tell us that this has all turned out ok. You are brave to let Chickee make her own decisions. I hope that she learns important things about herself whether she ends up staying with her dad a short time or a longer time. Hugs and prayers for you all!

  89. Meredith

    I have read your blog for years. I’ve never commented before. Mainly because…well look I’m the 84th commenter and everyone has already expressed what I would have said but in a more coherent and spell-checked fashion.

    But this one time commenting to say: you are very brave. Your honesty and openness impact more people in this world than you may ever know. I have only good thoughts and prayers for your family.

    There is an “after this” waiting down the road. You will get there.

  90. Mary K. in Rockport

    Oh Lordie. What a hard, hard decision; you must be a tornado of emotion on the inside. Maybe time and (literal) distance will calm the storm, and someone else can shoulder the burden for a while.

  91. Denise

    I’m pretty sure you know that most of the stuff you’ve been through with Chickadee, I’ve been through with Michelle Belle. And I am pretty sure you know that I did the same thing. I let her choose. No, I made her choose, and she was surprised and she was probably angry about that (though she’s never said so) — and later, when she chose again, differently, I let her do that too because I believed (and still believe) that it is right. It’s right to step back and make them take control, make choices — and learn to live with those choices and own up to the fact that those choices are theirs.

    It didn’t all turn out happily ever after. There were more problems. There may still be more in the future. I’m always waiting for the phone call in the middle of the night.

    But I do believe that I did the right thing – making her choose. Reminding her that it is her life to live. Forcing her to look at the choices she makes and owning those. And always being there to love her, no matter what. Today, years after it all started with Michelle, she would tell you that I made the right choice.

    That doesn’t make it suck less than it did then — or less than it has since then — or less than it might in the future. But it’s something for me to hold onto.

    And none of this really means much, when it comes to how you move on from here. I just felt like saying it. Since I do know exactly how you feel right now.

    xo to all of you.

  92. Jill W.

    I don’t have much to add, but one more tally mark in the column of people hoping and praying for you and your family and supporting you. I think you are a great mom and I am awed by how you are getting through this. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  93. Tara

    While it is always hard to be away from your child, this doesn’t have to be most awful situation. She needs to see for herself, and so do you. Hang in there.

  94. Clarity

    I totally second Maria’s post above.

    Some of us struggle more than others to find our wings, and sometimes leaving the safety of the nest for the comparative ‘wilds’ of a nearby branch is exactly what we need. I moved from my mothers in NC to my fathers in AZ when I was almost exactly chickies age. It was devastating for her but liberating for me, and it was the beginning of putting myself back together as a grownup instead of a child. I needed the distance to stop fighting for freedom and start making actual choices instead of simply reacting. I’m sure she felt like she was losing me at the time, but 4 years later I moved back to NC as an independent adult and I’ve lived within 30 mins of my mom ever since. she is my mother and I am her girl.

    I have been there. I have done that. I speak from that experience when I say you are doing the right thing.

    When she stops fighting you she will start finding herself. When she finds herself she will find you again. Believe in the bonds you have built and have faith in your girl. You are making the greatest sacrifice of all and i swear it will pay off.

    You and your family are in my thoughts and what passes for my prayers each and every day. Please know we all love you and are rooting SO hArD for this all to turn around. And it WILL turn around, I believe that with every ounce of my ferocious mothers heart. It WILL turn around one day soon and I will be screaming and laughing and crying and I can’t wait to celebrate with you.

  95. Alicia

    Hugs Mir and prayers for peace about new beginnings. I have lived reading your story since 2007 and I hope that some day I will be half the mother you are. Lots of love!

  96. Mandy

    Feeling sucker punched by the last sentence, which is but a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what you must be feeling, Mama Bear. I do imagine the experience of living with her biological father (for Otto merits the “dad” label in my book) will make Chickie realize what she had… and hopefully inspire her to do the work she needs to do to get better.

    Those fuckers? Not in the circle any more. In fact, I think you need a new sign: “Mir’s Circle: No Fuckers Allowed!”


  97. abbeyviolet

    Wow. Indeed. You are an amazing, brave, wonderful woman and mother. Keep writing and keep believing. I have to believe in that happy ending too, for all of us.

  98. Debra

    Wow… My first thought is “with friends like that you sure don’t need enemies.” My second thought is “show me who and I will bitch slap them into next week!”

    How dare they!?!

    My daughter is 20 and we just recently had a conversation about times when I was going through a bit of mental illness-ish stuff and she was 14. It was a hard conversation and I felt like a complete failure and I still can’t think about those times without tears. Did I do it wrong? Probably. But these kids don’t come with instruction booklets and we just have to do the best we can.

    You aren’t letting her go. You’re letting her grow and heal. Keep loving. That can never be wrong.


  99. Stephanie

    Oh man. God that last sentence hurts. I can’t imagine anything more painful than that sentence. But what wisdom, strength and love it must take to let her go. I am in awe. You are the best Mama.

  100. Kar

    The very best parents hang in there. No one gets it right all the time, but being there is what matters. You are there, you have been and will continue to be. Hell, you could give lessons in being there, you are a wonderful role model.

    And while her world is all shimmery and unsure, you, your husband, her father, your son, are solid and she can count on all of you. Especially at this difficult time when so often she doesn’t understand why she does what she does.

    All you can do about the people who cannot be counted on, is learn from them and move on. They serve as an excellent demonstration of who, and what, not to be. They are the anti-role model.

    You though, you, and all the other mothers and fathers who hang in there, some of whom have commented here tonight, some of whom will need to see what you’ve written to know they are not alone, are amazing.

  101. lise

    You are a wonderful, loving mother bear of a mama, and you deserve every hug, every “I love you,” every bit of caring that exists in the world. I’m sorry that you’ve been hurt by people who should be supporting you. Please know that I think of you daily and am sending lots of positive energy to you and to Chickie.

  102. Missy

    I don’t know what to say, other than I’m so, so sorry. Love and hugs to you Mir.

  103. Mary Jo

    Thinking and praying for all of you, Mir

  104. The Mommy Therapy

    Oh Mir, you are the best Mom for Chickadee. There is no way any person, close to you or not, can tell you how to be that Mom. Hang in there and know that there is a whole slew of cyber world that loves and supports you, because we read all your beautiful words and know nothing you do with either of your kids is a fluke, thoughtless decision. Stay strong!

  105. Marika

    I have a 2 week old son sleeping in a bassinet in my bedroom. I’m as new a mother as you can practically get, and I hope I have one ounce of the strength, love and compassion for him that you clearly have for your kids every day. Your words here are inspiring an heartbreaking in equal measure, but that same strength will get you through this challenge. Keep going, and please keep writing.

  106. kathy

    oh, this has to be the hardest (except there is always harder, isn’t there). My husband can rival Homer Simpson for pure stupidity in that which comes out of his mouth. I’ve finally learned to look past the words and just trust the love that I know is there. I’m hoping your “friend” has been temporarily donated their brain to Homer Simpson and will be back making sense and supporting you soon. And I’m hoping something might click with her when she’s with your ex. Thinking of you.

  107. Navhelowife

    Even hard decisions have the relief of a decision being made. That being said, I pray peace and love and even some joy in this journey – her choosing to go with her Dad for a season doesn’t reflect on you at all. What it says is that you love this child enough to take your own needs out of the equation. And I’m proud of you.
    Be strong, be surrounded with love, and an Anglican priest sent me this poem when I was going through some hard things..maybe it will give you comfort. If not, just hit delete :)

    And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

    “Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!”

    And he replied:

    “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

    That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

    So, I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night

    And He led me toward the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

    So, heart, be still!

    What need our little life,

    Our human life, to know,

    If God hath comprehension?

    In all the dizzy strife

    Of things both high and low

    God hideth His intention.

    The Desert 1908

    Marie Louise Haskins 1876 – 1957

  108. Rocky Mountain Woman

    People really can be idiots. I’ve dealt with the “I just didn’t know what to say so I just stayed away” and the “you’ll get over it if you let God/Love/Therapy into your life” and the “You are doing bad things so bad things happen”. You have to trust your gut because when it comes down to it that’s all you have, make the choice and then let it go. Easier said than done, but ptobably your only choice right now. Sending you all the good mojo I can to make up for the idiots. People care. Keep writing. Be gentle with yourself.



  109. Donna

    Don’t forget to breathe. You will all get through this. You will shudder when you think back on it, but you won’t think back on these times as much as the good times. They are teens for only 7 years – that’s just a small portion of the decades you will have when she grows up to be your friend. She will love you more dearly for having let her make her choices (and her mistakes). I love my girl more than anything – she also lost her way a bit and that nearly broke my heart, but she’ll be 20 in a few months and is a strong, beautiful young woman – in part because of the lessons I let her learn, the mistakes she made. Love and prayers for you. You all will be okay.

  110. Bryan

    So many times you have made me cry, as I read your posts and think about the mother and daughter I have been, and am, and hopefully will become. I am still becoming, as are we all, and I hope that my journey of becoming is a similar story to yours. Because you, my dear, are a story of becoming that is as beautiful as an infant’s coo.

    I left my mother’s house for my father’s house at the age of 13. For many reasons this was a bad idea. For many reasons this was a good idea. Like most of life, it was a mixed blessing. And in fact, I think that having left, I could come back during summers from college and have a relationship with her that was much better than if I had not left her home before then. I didn’t have much time to know her as an adult. So please remember that Chickie, too, is becoming. Apart from All This Shit, the stuff that has ICD-9 & DSM-IV diagnoses attached to it, she is struggling with detachment and testing her wings. And she may have a better relationship with you sooner than if you kept her close.

    I am so proud of you for letting her do it. So proud of you for letting her make and forcing her to make that decision. So proud of you for not telling her that she Chose Poorly. God knows, I have prayed and meditated and sorted out pros and cons for weeks, and still made the Wrong Choice. I just finished a book (fiction) that included the line, “It seems to me like that’s the whole point of life. You know? You do your best, flub up, learn something from it, and then you go on. You learn to be strong.” (The Swan House, Elizabeth Musser.)

    And all those people that are being judgey to you? Say the word, sister, and I will assemble the Internet Posse, and we will come KICK THEM IN THEIR BALLS.

  111. c

    i often wonder where those who judge me get their answers, because I am often stumbling in the dark and pain trying to make the best decisions for me and mine. Maybe if those righteous “friends” could show me their magic answer source, I’d share it with you. She will always be yours, good luck, c

  112. not supergirl

    Last year, my family experienced some huge losses (the death of my sister followed by the death of my mother-in-law two months later). I was so, so hurt by the people who disappeared. When my sister was sick, I had a few friends who made us meals and helped with childcare, knowing I was at the hospital long hours. And I had some who just faded away. One friend in particular, someone I felt very close to, emergency-contact-for-my-kids close, left me a voicemail (she must’ve been so relieved that I didn’t answer) to tell me that she was sorry she couldn’t do anything. But hang in there. Um. OK, will do. Then things got a lot worse for my sis, and she died. Then suddenly my MIL had cancer, too, and she died within a few weeks. A few more weeks passed after that, and I forced myself to go to another friend’s housewarming. It was difficult, our grief was raw, and this formerly close friend came up to me and starting asking me all about whether I’d seen her Facebook posts about some trip she took for work. I had, but I’d paid little attention, because of reasons, you know. I asked her when she took the trip. She told me, and I responded, “Yeah, I probably wasn’t paying attention to your facebook posts about your fun work trip because we were burying Dave’s mom that week.” So, that happened, and it hurt more than I’d have ever guessed, but… she didn’t come back to criticize us. Had she offered criticism, after deserting me when I needed support, I really can’t imagine every forgiving that. Even less so were I in your shoes, I think. Because what the hell is the right way to deal with this? How can there be a right way to deal with something that is fundamentally wrong? Of course, everything you do can seem wrong to someone, because things aren’t magically all better. But no, I don’t believe there is a right.
    With that said, there are better and worse choices, I guess. And it sounds like you allowed your daughter the independence to make her choice and honored that by respecting it. I’d say that falls way into the “better” column. I truly believe that once you get as far as you can with meds, you have to choose to be as well as you can be. I know that sounds kind of stupid, because who can choose to be rid of an illness, right? But mental illness is so weird. And I don’t know how to tease out the choices from the habits or the illness or the patterns or the consequences… It’s a mess. But it’s a mess she’s in charge of. She knows you’re a resource, with whatever limits you and she have determined. And let yourself be relieved that she’s neither in the hospital nor under your roof right now. I hope the rest of it turns out OK for you and her and the rest of the family sooner rather than later.

  113. Carolie

    I thought of so many things to say, then I realized, there is only one thing to say.

    I love you. I love your husband and kids, through your words. I love YOU through your writing and your sharing and your open vulnerability and your jokes and your passions and your quirks.

    I love you.


  114. Jomama

    So sorry to hear about all of this. I’ve been following the saga for a while, but haven’t posted as the right words just don’t seem to be there. But how much you love your daughter, so much to let her create her own life, and try something that might work out better no matter how much it hurts you to see her go–it just takes my breath away. You are a wonderful and wise mom. I hope this allows you both the space to build a relationship you will both be satisfied with. And especially that Chickie finds whatever she needs to get well.

  115. wendy

    Oh Mir…I had this same scenario in June. I’ve written here before about the trouble with depression, cutting, meds, hospitals that I’ve gone through with my 16 year old daughter over the last year and a half. At it’s peak in June, we so needed a break or we were going to break completely. She asked to go live with her dad in NY and it broke my heart. It wasn’t the right, best, correct thing for her and I had to hold my ground. Believe me, in some ways it would’ve been easier to send her off. But I couldn’t do it. Not even knowing that the road could still be a long one and we were already exhausted, I couldn’t do it. I asked her to reconsider – to really work as hard as we were on the relationship and not to make this kind of decision in the frame of mind she was in. I practically begged. I needed her to understand that running from her problems wouldn’t solve them because basically, she is the problem, no matter where or who she is with. She did go see him for 2 months over the summer and I had no idea what to expect when she got back. And it was better! She seemed to turn a corner, take more responsibility for herself and acted like the young woman I remembered. Now, I don’t know what happened over the summer – I didn’t ask. But she is here now and doing better. I keep hope alive every day. And a bottle of wine in the fridge!

  116. Nancy

    You love your daughter. Which means you are doing it right.

    And the people who are judging you- they are doing it wrong. But they don’t matter.


  117. addy

    The holier-than-thou/I-can-handle-your-family-better-than-you people really just need to die. They serve no purpose. You are doing the best possible for your family. And you are doing it with honesty, courage and true love. Fuck “em!

  118. GetSheila

    1. Fuck ’em.
    2. You did the good, strong, painful, right, needful thing, as only the best moms can.
    3. Fresh start for everyone and see how it goes. (I’d say I think it’s actually a great idea, but I don’t like to be punched in the face.) :-)~

  119. Teri

    That noise? That was an audible gasp coming from my mouth. I NEVER saw it coming.

    Oh, Mama. Tears, here.

  120. Mary Beth

    I’ve been a long time lurker and want to come up with the perfect thing to say, but I just can’t. All I know is that it is so clear to me, a stranger on the internet, that you love your daughter fiercely and are doing everything in your power to help heal her. I’ve been praying for y’all for months and I will continue to.

  121. Brian

    OMG Mir. I could hardly read to the end because the tears wouldn’t stop. I know exactly what you are saying, and I have a kid (three, honestly) that are dancing a similar dance and oh holy crap this is hard. Parenting is so hard, and you are doing it so well, and I wish the rest of the world would just fuck off and let you take care of your own business.

    I’m here with you, even though I’m a random internet stranger, one who has been reading for a long time but that doesn’t mean I really know anything. But damn I sure feel ya.

  122. meh

    Because my mother didn’t have the guts to let go when it was necessary, I ended up leaving her forever, once I finally could. That was much scarier for both of us, and so very painful. I finally felt free, but I had no one to turn to, or to rely upon later in life. It ended up costing me a lot.

    You’ve let her have freedom. She’ll have the freedom to return to you, when she’s ready. Like a little bird, flying from the nest, her wings growing stronger.

  123. Sharon

    Thinking of you, all of you ~

  124. Lisa

    Thinking of you all & praying for happiness & wellness always!!

  125. Julie

    Thinking of you all… <3

  126. Meg

    Mir, even the small glimpses that we get through this are staggering. I am so hurty for you and your family.

    You’re doing an amazing job in awful circumstances.

  127. Kira

    I am proud of you. You ARE loving her. I wish I could erase all the hurts of this last year – just have you wake up tomorrow morning in life “before” and have all this darkness be a bad dream that is over.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you for still fighting to find your way through the dark, because I love you, and I don’t want this to destroy you.

  128. squorkymama

    As a very-much-lurker, I just think you should know that I have SO MANY wouldacoulda posts bookmarked in the “I want to do it just like this when my kids are older” file.

    Join my voice to the ranks who think you are doing a phenomenal job of parenting in an unbelievably shittacular situation.

    Your courage and willingness to “let go,” despite what your heart must be screaming, is amazing.

  129. bonuela

    only a good mother would be able to let her make that decision. as a stranger, i think it is the right one. once she is with her dad, she will have to take ownership for the shortcomings that she blames on you. as someone who deals with minor mental illness, i know it is hard work to take responsibility and fight to get well. it is much easier to let someone else take over. even at her young age, she needs to be in control. no parent or doctor can do the work for her. no matter how sick she is, she is the one who has to co-operate with meds and therapy and fighting back from where she is. nobody else can do it for her.

    you are a brave brave mommy and you will survive this because you are doing what you know is best for your child no matter how hard it is on you.

    p.s. i have never mentioned my own illness online. it is time to get rid of the stigma and i guess that means that people like me need to speak up.

  130. Zudie

    Dear Mir,

    I feel you when you tell about friends letting you down in these true hard times. When our youngest was in a mental hospital, her dad away and me trying to keep things going for my job and the other kids, my best friend could only go off on me on how I was doing things wrong. I accepted that everyone else stayed away, but she, who was in the position to actually help me, wouldn’t do so and even was trying to make my life harder. That was the end of that friendship.

    Please keep on writing. It’s hard to find any blogs of people who write as open and true as you do. And that are good writers at the same time! Thank you so much!

    On Chickadee wanting to live with her father: don’t see it as if you did it wrong. See it as that she needs a change. She needs to get out of her own patterns and a fresh environment can help. And I’m sure she knows that she can always come back to you and you’ll always be there for her.

    Hang in there!

  131. becky

    Oh, Mir. I wish I could say something to help. I can’t think of damn thing. But I’m here, reading, listening, and keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. Sending as much love across the country as I can.

  132. Jessica

    Oh, Mir… I’ve been reading your blog longer than I’ve even known my husband. I know that means … nothing, really. I don’t see your daily life, except the excerpts that you put here for us to digest. I can’t make assumptions or judgments based on that. I know that these people are friends (or former friends), but even they don’t have daily insight into your life, especially those who’ve bowed out at this most ungracious time. I know their words hurt. I know their words hold much more weight than mine ever will. I know this, but I still want to tell you that they are wrong. Even though I don’t know you personally and I don’t have that insight into who you are and who your family members are, I do know that you are doing your very, very, very, utmost best for your daughter. If you are doing that? You are doing it right. Oh so right. I could tell you things that would curl your toes, stories from parents who really ARE doing it oh, so wrong. They aren’t fighting for their daughters. They aren’t holding out for the best for their sons.

    You, Mir? You are fighting for your kids. You are trying to get them to be the best they ever can be. Chickie is at the age where she needs to be making some potentially life-altering decisions on her own, but this decision that she needs to take in her own hands now? It’s a decision to be with someone else who obviously also loves her and wants her well (her father) or to stay where she knows others are trying to help her to be well again as well. Neither place may be the softest landing that a mother like you could give, but they may well be a good place for her to fall even so.

    You are doing it right. You are there. You are present. You are fighting. That’s all right.

  133. AnotherJenn

    Oh Mir, my heart hurts with you. As much as it might hurt though, I can certainly see ways that it is a wise choice for both of you. In addition to the points in bonuela’s very well put post, above, I know just how easy it is to fall into old patterns when given a chance. I can see how a change of scene and a different people to relate to on a daily basis would make the work she needs to do a bit easier. I am glad you posted, and I hope that all the virtual support brings at least a little bit of comfort.

  134. Lara

    I am heartbroken for you. My two cents, I think letting her take ownership and control is a brilliant idea (partly because it’s what you, her mama, think is best)! And true friends should know support you. People suck. I hope some people also surprised you with how supportive they were too, cause it often goes both ways. If not, may the Internet love ease the sting of the unwanted, unneeded criticism :)

    Theresa – I had an epiphany reading your comments, regarding someone important in my life who is the type of person to put others down to lift themself up and conversations in recent years regarding our parenting and various diagnoses so thanks! Never occurred to me before that the two frustrating things were connected and I think you’re right that they are. I just redirect the conversation now when I sense the criticism coming …

  135. Meri

    My friends have a saying, no ice cream for b——-. I’m afraid your former friends will be without ice cream for a good long while…

    I’ve lost friends for similar reasons and had others later try to stick a knife in my back. I just don’t get it, it doesn’t compute in my worldview. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this, too.

    And, well, huge bear hug! Thinking of you all.

  136. Michelle

    Mean people suck. Mean, judgy people suck big hairy donkey balls.

    Seriously, you are a good mom doing a good job. Looking forward to that moment when it all turned out okay. Keep fighting the good fight.

  137. Korinthia Klein

    The first time my husband was deployed it was for 15 months, I was 2 months pregnant when he left, my daughters were 4 and 2, and we had 6 days to prepare. It was harder than I can even tell you. But the part that stays with me most wasn’t the struggle of it all, but which people in my life stepped up. It was not always the ones I had expected. Some friends and family I thought I could count on simply vanished. Complete strangers came to my aid at times when I was desperate. And some people, when I wrote about how hard all of it was, decided the thing to do was tell me to shut up because why should I complain when my husband was at war. (Even though my husband, after two weeks on leave with the newborn, the toddler, and the preschooler, said he was looking forward to all the sleep he would get back in Iraq by comparison.)

    I’m sorry there are people with the nerve to criticize you at a time when you need support. It’s a shame, and they are wrong, and know you have a lot of people out here rooting for you.

  138. jen

    sending you love, peace, prayers, strength, and hugs.

  139. Saskia

    So, so sorry, for everything. A big hug for you and your family.

  140. Beverly

    I really can’t believe the nerve of some people (though I must confess that I’ve been guilty of going absent on a friend who could probably use some hugs — will rectify that immediately).

    Sending you lots of hugs and good thoughts and prayers and moral support in whatever decisions you and your family make about what is best for all of you.

  141. Megan

    You’re doing it right. And one of the most important ways you’re doing it right is talking about it. I didn’t. For a reason that seemed oh-so-important at the time, vital, life-shatteringly important, I didn’t. And that was very, very wrong.

    Keep talking and writing if you can, when you can. It matters not only to you but to Chickie and the rest of your family. It’s one of the gifts you’re giving them, and it is so very right.

  142. Reb

    Wow. That is incredibly brave of you, to let her go when she needs it. And brave of her too.

    There are no right answers, no road maps where someone can say “look, you’re wrong, you should’ve taken this side road” and you can answer “no, see, it’s gravel and prone to flooding”. You’re obviously loving her and doing the best you can, and that’s heaps.

  143. tammy

    When I was a child I asked my mother for the same thing, and she gave it to me even though I know in retrospect it was the hardest decision she ever made. I’m grateful as an adult that she let me do that because it gave me a more balanced view of my parents than I’d had previously. (I.E, my dad was not so great, and my mom was not so bad.) I know it’s not the right decision for you, but it’s really courageous of you to let her make her own decision.


  144. Paula

    That’s true love, you let her make her own choice, let her go and try to live with her dad. This will probably help her, even if she might come back faster than everybody presumes….

    Keep on writing, it is good for you and for many of your readers, too.

  145. ccr in MA

    Being collateral damage is awfully hard. There are a lot of us out here, I know, who are not judging or finding you wanting, but are fervently wishing and hoping for the best for you and your family, however it may come, and hopefully this will lead to it. Just keep swimming.

  146. Bonnie

    Mir, this post aches of hurt and I hurt for you. You are such a good person who is do the very very very very best you can and from what I can see here are only making good choices. There are so many that have grown from your journey and thank you for your honesty. (((virtual hugs))). It will be okay. You will get through this. You will thrive and she will thrive. I am happy she is at a place where she can leave the hospital now.

  147. karen

    Does it help if I tell you, – Mir, you’ve been doing the right things, the things that you believed were in her best interest because you love her, all along. What’s broken is something inside of Chickadee, not anything you’ve done or could have done differently. Fuck the nay-sayers who evaporate when they’re needed… they truly have NO IDEA what it’s been like living in your shoes or Chicks. They clearly have issues of their own. My daughter has a saying in her room (the brain injury child)… because she has been shunned as well. Cancel my subscription, I don’t need your issues.

    I think Chickadee being away from you for a while, living with her Dad, will be a good experience. There is no doubt you have always been there for her, a wonderful mom who provided a nurturing atmosphere. This goes for Otto too. (Unless you beat her with wire hangers and didn’t tell us about it… heh. ) Letting her live with her father, who also does not fully know the scope of what you have lived with… will be a good thing. Together they will realize the -scope- of your support over the years and I suspect your relationship with Chickadee will improve as she realizes the depth of your commitment to her. She will also respect that you let her make that decision.

    You done good.

  148. jwg

    On my kitchen windowsill is a wooden chicken. Written on it is “Raising children is like being pecked to death by chickens.” Just remember that you are incredibly strong and can deal with any rampaging chicken that comes along.

  149. Peg

    Oh, Mir. I had to do the same when my kids decided they wanted to live with their dad, even though our ISSUES were nowhere near the defcon level of yours and Chickadee’s (although your ex sounds an awful lot like my ex. ugh). Still, I fought, I begged, I hung on like only a mother can understand but still in the end I had to let go. I had to finally realize that my goal in raising them was to teach them to think for themselves, and to make their own decisions.

    Damn kids growing up and doing what I taught them to do.

    As it turns out, my relationship with my kids is better than it has ever been, now that the dust has settled. I miss them like mad, every day, but we’re all ok.

    You’re doing the right thing, and probably the only thing you really can do. I’m sending all love and peace to you, and to your family. I hope it all does turn out right in the end, and I hope it doesn’t take too long to get there.

  150. Amanda

    What Marj said way up there. Also, if you were doing it wrong, you wouldn’t care so deeply if you were doing it wrong or not. So many people are afraid to make a decision in situations like these. Right or wrong, you stepped up, did what you had to do, and made a decision. The best decision you could make with the information you had at that time. That’s what we do as parents. In any situation. It’s not like we push out a user manual with the placenta on these kids. We just do the best we can and love them hard along the way.

  151. Rebecca

    Holy shit, Mir. 145 responses before I even got here, and I haven’t read any of them, and may not. Too many.

    I don’t have anything to offer but love and support. Sometimes you have to let go to hold on. That’s all. <3

  152. cheyenna

    Oh, Mir. I’m so sorry for all you and your family us going through. Big hugs to you. I’m praying for a healthy Chickie and for peace for you all.

  153. Laura

    You are a GREAT Mom and this decision is so brave. I don’t care what others had to say, as the Mom of a child with mental health issues, you helped me more than you would ever know. EVER.

  154. Darcie

    “People suck” is a common refrain in our household.

    I would guess these “friends” know damn well that if they were going through this situation they wouldn’t get out of bed (ever), much less wrestle with the insurance, hospital, launch a tampon crusade and blog with gut-wrenching honesty. That might have something to do with the judgment crap from them. Doesn’t make it better, but there is my office-chair analysis. :-)

    Sending lots of love and virtual hugs. Breathe….you are doing it right.

  155. Pam

    Since I don’t know you IRL, but Lord knows would LOVE to, I would like to say… you are doing it more right than I can ever imagine a parent would. And your writing here has helped many, I imagine, bc if the time comes when one of us needs to know how to work the system to get what’s right for our children, you’ve all but written the manual. I am sorry – sad – that this happened to you — all of it — and to your family. Perhaps living with her dad won’t be the worst thing in the world, and perhaps it will be what she needs to start to see the other side….

  156. chris

    Mir, I am so sorry that people suck and the ones you thought you could count on let you down. I hope you can clean up all that dumped baggage and move on and I hope Chickadee finds what she is looking for at her Dad’s and then comes home to you and Otto and Monkey.

  157. Emma

    Another for what it’s worth from a stranger… there have been times, reading blogs, when I have judged, and thought “well I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do” or gotten pissed off with the blogger because I didn’t agree with them – even while knowing I’m interpreting what they’ve written and I don’t actually know the person or their real situation. This has never, ever been the case with you. I have always admired you for writing so honestly about the difficult parts of raising kids (even way before Chickadee got sick) while still letting your love for Chickadee and Monkey shine through so clearly. I have gained many parenting tips from you, and appreciate your thoughts and words more than you probably imagine – especially given that most people don’t blog about their older kids at all.

    I’m sorry for not commenting on every post about Chickadee to lend even more virtual support, but I am truly sorry you are all going through such a terrible time. There was one post a while back where you said something along the lines that Chickie has to decide whether she wants to sink or swim, which really struck me – I’m clapping my hands that she will swim, very soon, and even though I don’t know you or your real situation, from what I do see I think you are doing a fucking fantastic job with both her and Monkey. I only hope to be so strong and wise if I am ever in the same situation. Actually scrap that… I struggle to be as wise as you most days.

  158. Jean

    My heart, it’s just breaking for you. You have my love and support, as always. You are an outstanding mother, in so many ways, and have inspired me and so many others with your honesty and strength. I truly believe she will return, in time, she will return.

  159. Brigitte

    I know that all of us imaginary, interwebs friends don’t make up for the true-life slaps in the face you’ve received, but chalk me up as another reader to whom you are a mommy-hero.

    And the fact that you share I think is probably a godsend for many families in web-land who thought they were alone, whether or not they comment.

    Hugs for you and Otto and Monkey, and for your flying Chickadee. I think she knows how much it hurts you, which is part of why she didn’t want to make the decision, but a part of growing up and getting better is accepting that responsibility.

    I do have two friends whose children (in one case biological, in one case step-children), in their early teens, tried living with the other parent. In both cases, the children came back after a year or two. We can only hope!

  160. amy

    No person has the right to make another person feel bad. And any person that feels it’s their right to judge someone just because they know them personally (and worse if they don’t), they suck and they need to shut their fucking trap.

    Fuck them, honestly. Tell them to suck a lemon and cut them from your life. They are not good people to have close to you. I’m sorry anyone felt they could tell you anything about YOUR life.

    I think you’re a fantastic mother, and I don’t think I could have handled this situation with as much grace, patience and understanding as you have. I hope that Chickie’s decision is a good one and that she owns the decision either way. I do know that you’ll be there to catch her if (when?) she falls to help her get back to her feet once again.

  161. stephanie

    that crack… that HUGE CRACK you just heard… is my heart breaking… for you, for chickie, for otto, for monkey… for me and my 14 yo, lauren. it may or may not help… but there is a whole WORLD of people out here loving all of you and propping you up from afar. ::::HUGE GIGANTIC HUGS::::::

  162. Keene

    I’ve been reading your blog since way before Otto even entered the scene, and what I know, and what has always been abundantly clear to me, is how deeply you love and respect your children. There has never been a doubt of that. There were countless days where reading about your days with your kids gave me strength to get through the days with mine. Some of my kids are quirky and hard and disagreeable, and the way you wrote about your love for your kids has made a difference in my life.

    I’m so sorry you are being abandoned and judged. What comes screaming into my mind every time you share something hard about Chickadee’s life these days, is that old quote…’there but for the grace of God go I’. You didn’t deserve this anymore than anyone of us. I know it doesn’t mean much from people you’ve never met, but we’ve got your back. We know you are doing a great job of hanging in there. I’ve been parenting for over 23 years, and what I know is that you show up, and show up, and keep showing up. That’s what the kids are going to remember about you. They know who hung in there with them when it was scary, and boring, and ugly, and terrible.

    Hang in there Mir. I see your love and know you are doing a fabulous job in horrific circumstances.

  163. My Kids Mom

    My first reaction was an audible “oof” which I see has already been said. Then I came up with “Oh, Mir” which has also been expressed. “I’m so sorry” and “I’m proud of you” and “I’m sending hugs” are also thoughts shared by many of us here. But, I feel all this and so I’ll say it all again.

  164. Kristine N

    Hugs Hugs Hugs …. Hang in there. You are a wonderful mother….. Thank you for sharing with all of us….. Sometimes I think that “hell” is on earth and not the beyond.

    Tell those so called friends to go suck pond water… Who needs them.

  165. Jenny

    I am so sorry people are being shitty…honestly, I think of you of an example of the kind of mom I want to be to my daughter. You’re awesome. And I can’t imagine how much pain you’re in right now, but I hope you know that tons of people who’ve never even met you consider you a hero.

  166. Jenn K

    Oh Mir. That’s heartbreaking. The loss of friends, the judgment, and most of all having to let the Chick go. Don’t ever let ANYBODY tell you that you are anything other than a fantastic mother. You are in my prayers, every day. I really believe that it’s going to be ok.

  167. Karly

    Mir, there are so many of us out here that think about you and your little family every single day, multiple times a day. I just adore you guys and I pray and hope and cross all my fingers that this gets a little easier. You’re an amazing mama and I can’t imagine how hard it must be to let Chickie live with her dad. You hang in there. This WILL get better. It must.

  168. ANNIE


  169. Stacy

    Mir, you are an amazing mom, woman, wife, person. My family went through something similar when my 16 year old brother was sent to drug rehab for 9 months. Screw those who judge. This is your family and you have to do what you think is best. I think letting Chickie make such a big decision is wonderful, but I can’t imagine how hard it must be. Everything you have done proves that you are not giving up on Chickie and that you love her. Lots of hugs and prayers for all of you (and many prayers of thanks for Otto, because that guy is a saint).

  170. Debra

    I was reading through the comments, hoping to find what ‘C’ in post 79 finally said. If you haven’t read it, please do. She describes being given the choice to start fresh, without being ‘the girl who was in the hospital’ as a gift, given her by her mother.

    Making her decide her next step was a gift to her, acknowledgement that you trust her to trust herself. Supporting her decision, despite how it hurts to have her far away is truly motherly love.

    Sending healing thoughts to you, Otto, and extra special thoughts for Monkey.

  171. Celeste

    MIr, you are the bravest person I know.

    You love Chickie and you are letting her make this decision. I really do know how hard that is. Telling a child that you want them to make a choice, and choose what THEY want. Not what YOU want. Not what anyone else tells them is good. My son chose 50-50, but Capt. Crazypants lives nearby so it was workable. It still hurts, but it makes me feel better to tell myself that my son feels confident enough in MY love to be able to choose that. And I know it’s true.

    And for those who criticize. I do feel sorry for them. Because everybody is scheduled for a certain amount of crap in their life. If you haven’t had yours yet, believe me, your time is coming. That’s just the way it works. And the people who sit in judgment are generally the ones who haven’t had theirs yet. They truly believe these things will never happen to them, because… they’re doing it right? Hahahahahaha. When it comes, it’s much harder for them because they suddenly realize that they judged others and now… they’re gonna be judged the same way. And also they were expecting nothing bad to ever happen to them.

    Mir, hang in there. You ARE doing it right. And you’re showing other people how it looks when life smacks you upside the head, and it’s not your fault, and you handle it with grace. Thank you for that.

  172. Lindsey

    Wow… just… wow. I hope and pray that Chickie does get to the better portion of this, whether with you or her father. I hope and pray that those people who have judged do NOT have to go through this, because no one should. But if a bird were to poop on them today, I’d be ok with it. I am sending you hugs and strength and reaffirmation that you are doing the best you can with what you have been dealt.

  173. Gennie

    I’m a longtime lurker who is occasionally moved to come out of the woodwork, and this is one of those times. I’m so, so sorry that important people in your life are judging you for decisions that have been gut wrenching for you to make.

    And I am in awe of your bravery and strength to let her go this way. I hope it is the first step in her healing . . . the first part of the story that gets you to telling us, “It was bad, but now it’s okay.”

    I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of people sending you all good thoughts.

  174. Karen

    Oh Mir-

    I wish that I could give you a big hug. This has got to be so heart breaking. We went through a crisis with our oldest daughter we adopted at 13 and people left us by the flood load. She decided to go back to her birth family at 17 but she decided to leave us devastated in her wake. That was in 2006. And everyone told us or implied that we were wrong and terrible parents. Deep down I believed them. She left us. How much more terrible could we be. (Said sarcastically). I still feel the hurt of loss. Loss of her. Loss of people I thought were my friends. Loss of people in my family. Loss of support. I never have understood how people just leave you at your most deperate time.

    To me, you are my hero. Someday Chickee will see how you were there for her and her biggest cheerleader. I cannot imagine how hard this has been for all of you. I think of your family often and hope and pray that things can ease up on you all. I am so sorry for all you have been through. God bless you all

  175. JennyA

    OH, Mir. Blogs (often yours) have made me well up before but I’m pretty sure I haven’t ever actually *burst into tears* at one, generally heartless bastard that I am. Others have said everything I can think of to say and then some. I have not been in your exact situtation, but I have been at major crisis point before and have had to be the one to stand up and say SOMETHING MUST CHANGE and be willing to live with the consequences — so I have an inkling of the courage and terror of being there. Hugs, hugs, hugs — to you, to the collateral damage, and to Chickadee. What no one can EVER and SHOULD NEVER doubt, and what is so clear to me as a daughter, is the incredible love and respect you have for your children. I have to believe they know this as well, even in the darkest of times. And if anyone has the EVERLOVING GALL to criticize your hard decisions or your choice to write about them, those ASSHATS need to really examine their motives and perhaps review the old Golden Rule. And then go fuck themselves.

    HUGS and LOVE.

  176. Liz

    Mir, I’ve read and loved your blog for a while now, but I’ve never felt compelled to comment. I just wanted to reiterate what some of the other people said above. I also had a troubled 14 1/2 – 15 year old who also dropped the “I want to go live with my Dad” bombshell, and it was the best thing that ever happened in our relationship. She’s now a well adjusted 18 year old off at college and calling me for advice. It hurts, like stabbing through the heart I want to die hurt, but it may be the best thing that has ever happened to you as well.
    As a side note, my therapist said that this is completely typical and to be expected of this age group. A case of “the grass is greener” and that the best thing to do is not fight it. Easier said than done!

  177. Cathy

    I’ve really got nothing to say except what others already have – that you are clearly a good mother and love your children and stand up for them through thick and thin. Hang in there and know that for every crazy, there are 10 people rooting for you and your family.

  178. Rachel

    Mir, my heart is breaking for you. I’m so sorry you’re being judged, especially by the people who should support you. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Also, as another divorced mom with a 14yo girl, I feel kicked in the gut by the last sentence. And I know that you are deeply committed to doing ANYTHING to help Chickadee if you’re supporting her as she tries to make whatever changes needed to help her return to health.

    As I write this, there are 166 comments all saying you’re wonderful and we’ve got your back. I hope that helps your mood a little. I’m grateful you have Otto, Monkey, and Licorice to help brighten your days, and I hope Monkey will be ok with Chickadee living with their dad.

    Take care.

  179. julie w

    Mir- I should just say “ditto” to most of the comments above. You are doing the best you can. And that is enough. Parenthood is not for the faint of heart, is it? Virtual hugs from a virtual stranger ;)

  180. lily

    Mir, You know Chickadee the best and all that you’ve done is with her best interest at heart. Maybe allowing Chickadee to live in a different place will allow her the fresh start she needs. Best wishes to your whole family.

  181. RL Julia

    Let me preface this with a clear statement that what I am going to say is about me and my experiences, not about you – although you may or may not agree.

    Not everyone is good at doing everything and as you noted some people are not good with other people’s crisises (or their own for that matter) – in fact it brings out the worst in them. The other thing I might add is that when I feel bad about something is the precise moment I am most likely to take offense (and feel judged) or be overly suspicious by any comfort that might be offered. If it is not 100% I am hurt, if it is 100% I think they are lying. Nice – and easy to deal with I might add. The other thing I might mention is that the people who are letting you down are or were probably close friends and are probably devastated by Chickie’s illness. Maybe their judgement of you has more to do with their trying to make sense of it all – of their trying to find the magic bullet that turns back time and takes this all away than it does of their truly hearfelt feeling about your abilities.

    That being said, you rock. You are doing the right thing by letting Chickie try out living at her dad’s- there are pros and cons to it – but why not try this out.

    Remember – we can only go forward in life. Be strong, try and forgive the people who need forgiving (at least eventually – none of us are perfect) but most of all, cut yourself some slack.

  182. Marissa

    I can’t imagine how difficult giving her that choice, knowing that she was likely to choose to live with her dad, but also knowing it was the right choice. The right choice is almost always the hard choice, but of course you know that. I pray and hope and wish and implore the universe to help Chickadee find her way back to you and herself. Women and girls weaker than you and Chickadee have lived through this and worse and come out the other side, and so will you,

    For those who insist on judging, it is likely because they are terrified of or ignoring a crisis or fault in their own lives and judging your choices allows them to believe “this would never happen to me/my family/my child, because I would make the ‘right’ choice.” I know that doesn’t make their judgments sting less.

    Know that for all those who judge or abandon there are dozens of us across the world who are thinking of you and praying for you and would stop by with wine, chocolate, and gluten-free goodies everyday if we could. You are amazing, Otto is amazing, Monkey is amazing, and Chickadee is amazing.

    Love and hugs to you all.

  183. Mame

    My parents separated when I was 14, my father was working in Europe. I assumed that I had a choice of who I would live with. I chose my father and it had nothing to do with how I felt about either one of them. I wanted to live where he lived, I wanted a change of scene, I wanted different classmates. It’s a long complicated story, my mother tricked me into visiting and then wouldn’t let me leave. I knew that had nothing to do with me, it had everything to do with their relationship; I can’t believe that Chickie’s decision to live with her father is a reflection of how she feels about you but rather the culmination of how she feels about many things. On people who didn’t turn out to be the friends you thought that were; when my daughter was 9 she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She was very sick, we almost lost her and of course to this day lives with an incurable disease. The amount of ignorance about diabetes may rival the ignorance about mental illness. My daughter has called it The Granny Disease, because everyone has a grandmother with Type 2 and think they know everything there is to know about diabetes. You find out who your real friends are. It can hurt but in the long run, it’s better to know. My daughter is 24, so obviously that is different, she moved far away about 18 months ago. I miss her but I talk to her close to daily and see her often. She told me recently that she is where she is suppose to be, doing what she is suppose to do, with the people she is suppose to do it with. We should all feel so good.

  184. JS

    I was afraid, when I first started reading, that you were saying good bye. That this would be the time you would walk away from all of us who read a little about your life and feel better about ours. If it is selfish for you to have touched so many people you don’t even know, then I say selfishness is not a negative, in this case, when it helps you take better care of yourself so that you can care for your family. Those people who don’t say the right thing, or bring you ice cream and guacamole in situations like this are not your family. Those people who can’t just be there with you, in silence, saying nothing because nothing will help, are not your friends. I also hope, with all my heart, that your ex-husband will take care of your daughter just exactly as you have been doing. I hope the guilt you may feel eases. I also hope Chickie remains safe. I am so, so sorry this happened, to all of you. I am also, as ever, thankful to you for sharing.

  185. DreA

    I have a favorite new line that I (so far) only think to myself when people are offering unwanted and/or hurtful advice. Opinions are like *holes…everyone has one. It is ok for you to hurt when someone’s *hole (oops, opinion) hurts you. You are doing the best you can and no one should be judging you, only supporting you.

  186. Jan in Norman, OK

    What MM (#43) said.

  187. Rachel

    Hugs to you… don’t know what else to say (except to maybe add that mean people suck).
    Still praying for you and your family.

  188. ~zandra~

    Through everything you wrote, the point to me was the end and that part is what I am reacting to. I have to say, as a child of a nasty divorce, you are doing the right thing. Not that it’s right for her to live with him and not you, but right that you not only considered it, but left the decision up to her. I applaud you. I only know “blog you,” but “blog you” is a damn amazing woman and I have to assume that real you is as well.
    Good luck to all of you on this new phase.

  189. Barbara

    One more Internet stranger in your corner, right here.

    Must be a lot of pressure on those mean people, what with their perfection & all. The rest of us struggle and make hard choices and do our best. And you are doing your best – which is all your family needs you to do.

    Carry on, brave Mir. Carry on.

  190. Eileen

    Mir I used to read a lot, back when you lived somewhere else and our kids were “spirited” and “precocious” and I don’t know what else. My life got busy and I stopped reading so many blogs. Someone mentioned to me that you were going through this…and the reason I was drawn to you as a writer so many years ago is just a relevant as it was then. I’ve been lamenting some serious deserters in our lives for a while now too. It’s such a lonely business, mental illness.

    I hope Chickadee’s decision will be good for the family, whether she stays or it is a path back home to you. I’m sorry though…I know what the happily-ever-after-until-next-time syndrome feels like. I’m in the middle of my next time. Sigh. Much love to all of you.

  191. sassymonkey

    You know I don’t comment often but that I’m always reading. I think you did your absolute best with all that has happened and I still stand by my comment of several years ago — if I ever have children and I’m half as good at this parenting thing as you are I’ll be a damned good parent.

  192. KGP

    Oh, Mir, my heart aches for you. And your bravery at sharing all of this with your virtual community is nothing short of amazing.

    I’ll be praying that Chickie’s decision is the ultimately the right decision, and that it helps start her on the road home, and back to you.

  193. Dawn

    If I could reach through this screen and wrap my arms around you and hold on tight, I would do so in a second. Since I can’t do that I’m going to say a prayer for all of you and tell you that:
    a) I have been there and done that with people I really cared about turning their backs on me, that it hurt like hell, and still does even 7 yrs later- and my heart aches that you have to deal not only with your heartbreaking situation but their callous treatment you, and it. That sucks. THEY suck. YOU DO NOT SUCK. Their behavior isn’t about you. It’s about them- their fears and insecurities. Not you.
    b) As much as this hurts and as scared as you are, I do hope and pray fervently that all of you can use Chickie’s time with her dad to heal a bit, and reflect, and breathe; that your relationships will grow stronger and that you will all keep learning and growing.
    c) You are a great Mom, Mir. Believe that, even when it doesn’t feel like it, because you are. Seriously. A wonderful. sensitive, loving, insightful, passionate, devoted, tireless advocate for your children. Not perfect, no one is. But you ARE doing a good job. Truly. And all of us who admire you- for the courage it takes to share this situation, the wonderful ways you are using it for good- are on your side. You are not alone.

  194. Rutham

    As always, you, your family, your support system (wherever/whatever that is) are in my thoughts and prayers. The best we can do is all any of us can do at any given moment, and it’s wrong that some people can’t understand that. I hope those closest to you eventually realize that.

  195. elizabeth

    Firstly, mean people suck. ’tis true. The “helpful” ones more so.

    I’ve been down the “I’m going to live with Dad” road. It was for a year but my ex was living in Ireland at the time. It was a hard year for me but my boy blossomed (do boys do that?)

    You’re not really letting go (do moms ever really?), you’re just lowering the safety net a smidge. You are made of awesome to leave this decision to her. That had to be hard.

    Chickie will figure out if she made the right choice. Your ex will stand up or not. But…

    (yes, I’m making my own assumptions, I’ve been reading here a while and know you as well as any other random internet drive-by stranger. You seem relatively consistent on this one point)

    you will be there for her however it works out.

    I so hope that things get better for all of you. Many good thoughts and wishes and chocolate to you and yours.

    (can I add a Yay! for getting her out of the hospital?)

  196. Summer

    I’m glad you write. I’m glad you share with all of us so honestly. Though I’ve never faced a challenge like this in my own life as a parent — and I’m sure you’ll understand why I pray to God I never do — I find you a great inspiration as I deal with the constant tiny challenges and heartaches of trying to raise a child able to stand on his own two feet.

    And I’m glad you write because I do care what happens to you and your kids.

  197. mamalang

    Some of the hardest life lessons must be learned personally and no amount of examples or discussions will change that. Unfortunately, as a parent, it’s often difficult to step back and let your child make those decisions and face those lessons, even when we know it’s for the best. Good luck to you all in this next phase. I have been through the living with another parent for a time experience, and while it was difficult, in the end, it gave her the insight she needed to start growing up. I hope Chickie finds this same insight, so that she can begin to truly heal.

  198. Jenn

    One more of your internet posse here.

    Decisions like this never feel right in the moment. I spent an hour this weekend explaining to my almost teenaged daughter what it meant to have choices. “Having choices doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed that one is good, or right. Sometimes, all the choices suck and you just have to settle on the one that’s most right for you.” But, I agree with you that at some point, we all have to take charge of our lives and our paths. Chickie taking this step is hard for her; harder for you but in this moment, it’s the best thing you know how to do and sometimes you have to forgive yourself for making the best of a million crappy decisions.

    What slays me is that the people near you (some of them at least) aren’t supporting or open enough to hear the love and anguish you are pouring into every one of these crappy decisions. I’m sorry. Hopefully it brings a measure of comfort that so many of us out here understand.

    I will echo to fears of another mom who commented earlier about the secret fear that lives in your heart when you are a parent. My husband is adopted with no contact with his birth parents. My son is adopted from a mental health case who turned into an addict. I don’t know what’s coming. I have no idea and that’s terrifying. My senses jump to the ready every time my son (especially) displays any sign of an issue or behavior I don’t recognize.

    What I know though is that if you can do this. So can I if I have to some day and as much as I would give for you to NOT have to go through this situation, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing it with us.

  199. Hallie

    My heart aches for your family. I pray that healing happens for all of you and that things start turning around.

    Big Hugs!

  200. Kelly

    I never really comment then other to ask for recipes, but after reading your post my heart breaks for you. It is hard for people to understand what you are going through, but that is not an excuse for a true friend to back off with support. True friendship is through the good and the bad and the very bad times. You strength truly amazes me, and has made me stop many times to say thank you for the life I have been given.
    As a Mother you want what is best for Chickadee and her going to live with her dad has to be breaking your heart. Your are the definition of a selfless mother, she will always know you have her best interest at heart and love her unconditionally no matter where she rests her head.

  201. Grace

    What everyone else said. Mean people suck. You are a wonderful mom and a great example to many people here, and I’m sure, in real life. True love, to force/allow your child to make her decisions, and true love to let her go live with her dad. Virtual hugs to you, sweet lady.

  202. Lisa

    Yay for getting her out of the hospital. And Yay for her making a choice about how to proceed. There are no “right decisions” when you don’t have all the information (and with mental illnes, you NEVER have all the information), you have to go with what feels right for you.

    I’m sending happy, healthy vibes to your and yours – I hope she keeps taking 2 steps forward for every step back. It can be a long road, and as you can see from this list of comments, at least your internet-reader-friends support you just the way you are. Thank you for sharing.

  203. Andrea


    I am torn between two thoughts to send:
    1) Mental illness is no one’s fault. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of or blamed for or abandoned by your close friends / family over. Mental illness just is. And hopefully, one day soon, mental illness will be what was for a time and now is gone from your lives.


    2) I am humbly amazed by your willingness to do what your daughter needs and push aside your own pain. I am overwhelmed by your generosity in sharing yourself with a community you owe nothing to but who owe you gratitude for the kindness, for the care you bring to it. You make me strive to do my best in this world for those I love so deeply.

    Either way, my ongoing best wishes and prayers go out to you and your family.

  204. Adrienne

    Oh, Mir – The people who are judging you can suck it. Seriously. You are awesome and pretty and you have tons of supporters. Hang in there.

  205. Katie K.

    I think much of what makes people judge and/or turn away from people going through tough times is fear and insecurity. They think “If it could happen to her, it could happen to me” and don’t want to go there in their head, so they turn away. Or the choices you are making make them second-guess their own choices and they don’t want to think they might have been wrong, so as a self-defense thing they tell them self (and you, apparently) that you are the one who is wrong.

    None of this makes it easier for you when someone you thought you could count on lets you down though. I am sorry that happened, and as always I admire your strength and ability to make the tough choices.

  206. Demery

    Sending love and strength to attempt to replenish the unimaginable toll it must be taking on your reserves to be so brave and loving and strong.

  207. cardinal

    One more internet voice trying to tip the scale away from the IRL suckitude. Your ability to share your journey has been a powerful force for good. You didn’t just reach us who read it as it happened, you’ve left a breadcrumb trail for some anguished mom six months in the future who is desperately googling to find help through her nightmare. Your writing is a good thing, the best of things. Please don’t ever stop.

    Warm hugs and best wishes to all of you as the next part of the story unfolds.

  208. Tammy

    I am so proud of you for letting Chickie make her own decision and letting go a little and so sorry that you are experiencing the worst kind of well meaning friends – you know, the one’s who know better than you without the benefit of your experience and understanding of your daughter’s illness. Parents of typical children experience a slow paced letting go as their children grow and mature in all the expected ways. Parents like you and I have “normal” ripped out from under us early and when we least expect it and we spend large parts of their childhoods trying to find the best ways to help and heal them. I have been where you have been with three sons and the hardest thing to teach them was to take responsibility for themselves, their actions and their disorders at an age when they seemed least equipped to do it and at the same time their friends reached “regular” milestones like driving, first jobs etc. They are now 20, 21 and 24 and some of them are still not driving and working. A week does not go by that we don’t get asked what the kids are doing and receive blank stares because we are driving some of them to college or because one of them might not have a job yet. On the flip side, not one is cutting themselves, hallucinating or writing horrifyingly dark poetry anymore either. (We take our successes wherever we can find them around here) Friends and family have been as supportive as their limited experience and tolerance for bad news have allowed them to be and we have learned to let some of them go sooner than we would have liked as well. It is never easy and it is rarely planned, but it always for the best even when it hurts so much that you think you cannot breathe. This mental health stuff is not easy on the parents or the children who depend on them to make the best decisions for their recovery. Why outsiders (and by outsiders I mean anyone who has never personally experienced your child at their lowest or attended a doctor’s appointment with you) feel the need to comment or offer advice I do not know or understand. I just know that no matter how fond of them I was before they opened their mouth, I was so much fonder of their absence after they did. The last thing my husband and I needed while driving ourselves crazy with worry and decisions about how to proceed for our children’s care was someone else questioning our ability to do so no matter how well intentioned their advice was. Good luck to you, your family and Chickie’s Dad who is about to jump in the deep end. But most of all best wishes to Chickie who has the hardest job of all – climbing out of the darkness and finding herself again.

  209. Kim

    I have always believed you are an incredible, amazing, un-selfish person. I believe it more with every post. I believe it more today than I ever thought possible. You. Are. AMAZING.

  210. Carol

    Thank you for every word you write. God bless you.

  211. Heidi

    “those people resurface just long enough to tell me I’m doing it wrong.”

    Oh, I’m so sorry.

    I’m not a parent, but I am a former kid. Totally different situation, but… I appreciate that my mom respected me enough not to try to talk me out of making a huge decision when I was young (not that it would have changed my mind). Was it the best choice? Maybe not, but it was a slice of life I was meant to live, and it’s a part of who I am today. I hope that some day Chickadee will appreciate the respect you have for her in allowing her to make this choice, however difficult it is for you.

  212. Eileen

    Teary eyes & a sad heart……hoping your family can find peace, whatever that may look like…..

    Keep posting – we want to hear whatever you want to share <3

  213. TC

    I love you. And I respect you beyond measure.

  214. Tracey

    Those judgey people? Fuck them. Just FUCK THEM. Until they stand in your shoes, or anyone elses, they cannot know what is right. And how dare they presume to tell you that your actions are wrong.

    And what is right anyway? It’s doing the best you can for the ones you love in hopes that IT IS RIGHT. There is only doing the best you can.

    And YOU have always done the best you can for your children and family.

    Writing helps, don’t ever stop.

    Pulling for you, Chickie, Monkey and Otto.

  215. Andytn

    I re-read today and it knocked the wind out of me again. I obviously don’t know you but I have read you for years and respect your parenting so very much. Like everyone else here, my heart just aches for you and your family. Please know that we’re all praying for healing in every aspect of your lives.

  216. Pop C

    Wow, just wow! I did not see that coming. Even though that is a big decisipon for a 14-yearold, I think you are doing the “right” thing. I hope that none of you live to regert it. My only words of encoragement would be to keep the lines of communicatiobns open and let her know that the lock on the front door will not be changed and she is welcome to come “home” any time. I will be lifting up all of you, including the ex, in my prayers.

  217. Anna

    The one thing that I needed when I was 14 was to be allowed to make my own decisions. This will not be a perfect solution, for sure, but if it helps her grow wings, she will be all the better for it.
    I hate being the one watching somebody make a decision that might have bad consequences, but I am learning to have peace with it.
    Lots of love from one mother to another. And strength for the journey. And may those who can’t or won’t support you give you a broad distance between you.

  218. Likethewrap

    oy, what a heavy heart, you, me, the other posts. I am surprised time and time again how a community of faceless people (like here or an online chat room) can provide more comfort we can fully understand. I am also surprised by the audacity of people who we hold most dear. You, Chickadee and your family have been through so much. I seriously pray that this is the beginning of a good, positive change for everyone.

    Also, what fantastic writing! There are so many unconnected things that happen in our daily lives that have some type of (cosmic?) connection. You brought them all together superbly!

  219. Birchsprite

    I don’t think I can add anything to the lovely comments. Just sending you a big virtual hug and the sincere wish that whatever happens in the next couple of months that your whole family gets a chance to recuperate and have some fun. You are a lovely mother and a strong woman and I think you’ve done brilliantly throughout this whole nightmare. Love to you all

  220. Joanne

    Oh my God, Mir – you are so incredibly brave.

    To share your story with us, and open up to “judges”.
    To have / allow the conversation with Chickie that resulted in her choice of residences.
    To agree to let her make that decision, and to abide by it.

    You are brave and strong and loving.
    (I had to scroll past all the comments to write this down right away (and not get distracted).)

    I stand in awe of this post, and wish there was a cure for a breaking heart.

  221. Kim T

    I don’t actually know how any one can say you are doing it wrong. I thought that was the big secret of parenthood, that has taken me quite a bit of time to figure out. There is no right or wrong, there is only the way you choose. You care, you love, you do the best you can in each moment with the information you have at hand. We all do. That’s all anyone can do. Why anyone would judge that, as you said, that’s on them. Sorry it has to be close people who react badly. That does have to hurt worse. In the end that old cliche is true – the people who would mind don’t matter and the one’s who matter don’t mind. Hang in there. I think there will be another side to all of this where things are okay.

  222. Scottsdale Girl

    Well that last sentence punched me right in the gut. You are all loved, you are all going to get through this. One day it will ‘all be fine’ again!


  223. Andrea

    I don’t have anything profound to say, just that you are doing everything right because you are doing everything you can. Whether our decisions end up working out the way we hope or not, as a mom you’re making decisions in the very best possible way–with the very best intentions. And I don’t believe that saying about the road to hell. Just sayin’.
    I hope your writing brings you more support than assholes–and I hope that when you doubt yourself you can look over here and see how many people are amazed and inspired by you. You are the kind of mom that I strive to be. Your strength inspires me to stand up to all of the fears that I have for my boy, and I owe you big for that.
    Thanks, Mir. You guys are all, as always, in my prayers.

  224. Alison C

    Ouch! I am one of those people who never know what to say in there situations but I want you to know that I am thinking of you and hoping it all works out in the end.

  225. Aimee

    Oh, Mir. I am so sorry that on top of everything else that you’ve had to deal with, you have to deal with this. I don’t know who these people are or why they felt the need to come back just to tell you that.

    There are an awful lot of internet folk and blog commenters who have your back no matter what happens. I hope that helps at least a little.

  226. CuriousCat

    Well, ok, i actually did see this coming. I doubt you were blindsided by it, either.

    Having said that and for what’s it worth….i think you did absolutely the right thing. Absolutely. For many reasons. I doubt that life with dad is going to be what she thinks it will be, but it still might be what she needs; for right now, anyway. Also, your family doesn’t just consist of chickie, and the rest of you – you, monkey, otto – deserve to have a chance to work out a new, healthy “normal” for yourselves.

    You are an amazing mother to know this is such an important step in chickie’s journey with mental illness: the right to make decisions and choices and the responsibility that comes with them. i mean, you can’t tie her to a post and force feed her meds and make all her decisions for her the rest of her life, right?

    Do me a favor and write this on a piece of paper: Today I did something that sliced my heart in two. But because I did it out of LOVE, I know that no matter what happens, I did the RIGHT THING. Then stick that piece of paper somewhere you can see it, whenever you need to see it.

    And your “friends”? Fuck ’em. If they’re seeing failure, they must be looking in the mirror.

  227. Issa

    Sometimes, I wish people who didn’t know what to say, just said this: I don’t know what to say, but I’m here. I’ve been through some shit and I’d take that any day over the people who try and tell you what you are doing wrong. Or how they’d fix it. Sigh. Like life is so easily fixable. Ohhhh 10 easy steps to a fixed major issue!!!! Heh.

    If writing here helps you in any way? Then you should do it however you want. I’m sorry your supposed friends can’t see that. Friends shouldn’t judge like that.

    There are a lot of us here cheering for you and for your girl. Some of us, quieter than others. ;) But we’re here.

  228. naniofthree

    Letting go is the hardest part of parenting, and letting go now must be excruciating. Chickie is going through an unbearably hard time, but even kids her age without her issues often decide that the “missing” parent can fill up what’s “missing” in their lives. Your courage in letting Chickie make this decision, despite her ambivalence and your pain, is exceptional. Frightening as it is, her choice of the unknown is hers, and you made it possible for her to choose by being who you are. I won’t say “it will all work out for the best.” Your strength and your heart will be tested again. All we who admire and love you can hope is that as Chickadee heals, you will as well. Blessings to you all.

  229. Sherri

    Thank you for opening up to us. I hope some one has read this and learned from your experience, from your honesty, how to be a true friend.

  230. Gin

    I am rooting for her and you. My prayers are yours.

  231. Stephanie

    I only recently found your blog and my heart goes out to you and your family. Our situations are not quite the same – my daughter has a chronic condition and brain surgery is a treatment option to control her symptoms. My husband and I made that decision to go forward with her brain surgery a year ago and the people who should have been holding us up walked away. They passed judgment. They shouted their judgment to anyone who would listen but never once did they have to make the decision we made. And the people who are judging you have the luxury to judge because they don’t have to make the decisions you have had to make. From where I am standing, you are an awesome mom and you have made the hardest decision a parent ever has to make – the decision to let go. You are in our thoughts and our prayers. Your happy ending to this story will come it will just take time.

  232. Leah

    I understand the whole quality vs. quantity, it hurts when that inner circle you let get close, hurts you, intentionally or not. Being a mom is the hardest thing ever. You are doing a great job. I am sorry you are in so much pain right now. I will pray for you and your family.

  233. Lori

    Hi Mir,

    This is such a hard time. I went thru similar with my oldest son. I had such a hard time with the decisions that had to be made and actions that needed to be taken. I felt at times that I was doing this to him, not helping him. I had a wonderful therapist. For years I still had dreams and nightmares. One day driving down the road with this son as a man I pulled over and blurted out I needed to talk. I explained how I felt during the tension filled 4 yrs, how it still made me feel. You know what, it helped both of us. I was given a big hug and told that I had saved his life. That it wasn’t easy for him but he understood and appreciated the strength it took his Mom to do those things. He is now 36 with a son of his own. I have found that during recent years he is a tower of strenghth for his Mom. I KNOW if I pick up the phone and call he is on his way.

    All this to say, you are doing the hardest thing in the world. Unless they have walked in your shoes, no one can KNOW what is right or wrong. As long as everything you do is based with love, how can it be wrong. Trust in yourself and the love you have for your amazing daughter.

  234. Jeanie

    People suck sometimes. There’s just nothing you can do about it. Except eat chocolate and pet your dog. You don’t know me from Adam, but I think you are doing the best you can and what you believe to be the right thing. And that’s what matters: that YOU believe you’re doing the right thing. No one knows your family like you do, so I don’t believe anyone has the right to judge what your actions are. I hope whatever Chickie decides, it works out for her, and for all of you. I’ll keep you all in my prayers.

  235. Michele

    Hello Mir and all .. does it not seem judging the judgers is the same thing as the initial judgings? It is hard for me to go there. I have also been a recipient of what you describe, and all I think I know is .. pretty much everyone in our lives will push our buttons, in some way or other, sometimes pushing us to edges we couldn’t imagine. We all have our stories and it is almost mind-staggering how many awful occurrences there are of this. It breaks my heart and makes me wonder how many buttons I have pushed, or how many close to me have perceived me to abandon, betray, or ignore them. Overall, there are no right answers. It doesn’t matter what age we are, some experiences will be VERY VERY hard and it will seem like we are making huge mistakes. Sending hugs to all of you – especially Chickie. I didn’t go through what she is at 14, but now here at 45+, after a severe brain injury a few years ago and alone, I have symptoms of what seems to be bi-polar schizophrenia and that is so not good. I don’t know. I guess all we can do is be ourselves and don’t second guess, because there are no right answers. xox

  236. MomCat

    You don’t know me, but I’m 100% behind you, and behind your writing to ease the pain. Virtual hugs and support to you. If you ever need anything, I’m here for real.

  237. A

    Love to you and your family.

  238. Another Dawn

    First of all, those who have not been through this experience don’t get to have an opinion on how you’re handling it. Period. They just do NOT know. They may think they know what they’d do, but they don’t. Even if they have, that was them and their child and this is you and Chickie. Your lives. Your choices.

    Secondly, anyone who would contact you just to tell you how you’re doing it all wrong has a small, black rock where their heart should be. You have enough on your plate without having to listen to their misguided sniping.

    Thirdly, you’re very, very, VERY pretty.

    Fourthly, (is that a word?) teenaged girls pull away from their moms even when they’re not dealing with a mental illness. It’s what they have to do to establish autonomy. You’d think Mother Nature would have designed it so it doesn’t tear our hearts out, but she screwed up a lotta stuff and this is one of them. And maybe it’s just an attempt on Chickie’s part to try something, ANYTHING different that might help her get back on track. At least she’s going to her father, not some crack-head boyfriend or just running away randomly with no destination in mind. He’ll keep her safe.

    But I get it. Boy, do I get it. Wishing you peace and Chickie all the things she needs to get healthy again.

    P.S. These people who say you’re doing it wrong. Have they MET you?

  239. Deanna

    Oh pretty, pretty Mir.

    This is probably duplicative, but I wanted to add my voice to the legion of people tell you: You are right. You are brave. You are doing you believe is best for Chickie. No one is in a better position to assess Chickie’s situation and decide that allowing her to make this decision for herself is the right choice.

    I also second (or third, fourth fifth) the sentiment of other posters that perhaps this is EXACTLY what she needs. Children who are mired in mental health issues lose the forest for the trees. While you are there holding her hand every day, she takes you for granted, takes your efforts as expected and has no appreciation for what you do. She may never have that appreciation, but having her live with your ex may give her enough distance to actually miss you. To remember how good things used to be and to want to get back there.

    As for those who fly in only to tell you that you aren’t doing it right. Well not only have they not walked a mile in your shoes, they didn’t even bother putting them on. Sometimes those who are closest to us are those who try to offer help in the most heartwrenching and terrible way. In the last year or so, we have lost several friends (one who I had considered a sister and had known since I was 8) the exact same way. It sucks, it hurts and sometimes it can’t be fixed. You are not alone. You will never be alone. There are those around you that are still supportive and I imagine will remain to be. All of those commenting here are a testament to that.

    You are doing everything you can, using every trick in your back and gun in your arsenal to help and protect your two amazing and unique children. I hope you never, ever doubt that everything you have done has been nothing short of heroic, because from where I sit, you are truly a hero. I would give anything to have handled my daughter’s illness with even a percentage of the grace and strength (even when your crunchy exterior crumbles). You are wonderful, and amazing and I hope you never forget it! (Oh, and I don’t mean that in a creepy stalker way..)

    Much love sent to you and your dear family,


  240. Kim

    That last bit took my breath away. Oh Mir ~ hang in there, sweetie. You’re so so so SO PRETTY! And smart. And you love your kids so much that you’re willing to hurt to help them.

    All those people in your life that have disappeared? Trust me when I tell you that you don’t need them. They are replaceable. When my kiddo was born with a rare syndrome, I lost almost all of my friends. They couldn’t handle it. They just dropped off the face of the earth. It hurt. I cried. A lot. But I got through it, and almost 16 years later, I can honestly say I don’t miss any of those people at all.

    Hang in there, Mama ~ you’re doing a great job with BOTH of your children.


  241. Nancy

    wow. I read your writing all the time and I haev never commented. I, too, am a writer and live my life so out loud. I admire you for telling this tale online. But why I’m commenting today is to let you know that I went through something similar when I was in high school (now I’m in my 40s). Although it doens’t sound as severe as what you are going through, I just wanted to tell you I am thinking of you and sending love your way. My mom was there for me the way you are there for your daughter. And I so admire you letting go. Because we all eventually need to do it on our own, right, with people next to us? Being depressed at a very young age taught me how to take care of myself in the best possible way. I hope the same happens for your girl.

  242. Kim

    You’ve come close an awful lot of times, Mir, but this is the first time I’ve actually teared up reading one of your posts. I can’t even imagine how hard this is for you. It’s evident in every post you write that you miss yor daughter terribly.
    But, oh lordy, this decision makes so. much. sense to me. A new beginning, far away from all the old triggers, a chance to re-establish normalcy on her own terms: of course, that’s what’s best for Chickie. And that is in no way to be construed as criticism of your family home. It’s just – I couldn’t imagine coming out of such a galvanizing experience and moving back into my old bedroom. I’d want space to let myself settle.
    I don’t think this is a forever move, but I do think you are a hell of a wise mother, Mir. Doing what’s best for your kid, even when it hurts you so much. Huge admiration from my corner. So damn hard, all of this.

  243. Kailani

    It is when the going gets rough, tough and the shit hits the fan that you really, truly know who your friends are. The ones that stand by you and carry you when you cannot step another step. The ones you snap at, hide from and ignore who keep coming back for more. Who send a quick text, a snail mail card, a bottle of wine, a weak smile. The ones with the patience to wait for us to find our way back to ourselves before we can find our way back to them.

    The right things to do are usually the damn hardest! And letting go of something you want to hold so close, so tight is like dying. I think you are a fan-fucking-tastic mama. Don’t ever think different!

    Sadly this saga isn’t over, but be strong! Lean on those you can, share your grief, bend our internet ear.

    Praying for you and the entire family.

  244. Chris

    I find myself being one of those people who don’t know if I can find the right thing to say. While I am not as eloquent as you are, I am 100% certain of your love and commitment to your daughter and do not understand how ANYONE, much less a “real friend” could say otherwise. I (and hope you) will not waste my energy on the haters but tell you a mom’s job is making the hard decisions and the hardest has to be letting Chickie make this one.

    Hugs, prayers, chocolate and all other good things to offer some comfort in this time. I will hope and hope this is the thing that she needs now and one step in the journey to after.

  245. N


    Never posted before but have been following you for years.

    You know way sucks? All these years you thought Monkey was going to be your biggest challenge. I have a ten-year-old Monkey and a thirteen-year-old Chickadee, and so far, it has been all about my Monkey — his struggles, sadness, and triumphs. Sometimes I am afraid all the attention paid to my struggling Monkey is going to blow up in my face with my
    super-achieving, multi-friended Chickadee.

    If that ever happens, you have given me a roadmap of good parenting to follow. Don’t doubt yourself — cut yourself a break. I only hope I could do half as well.

    Hugs and prayers.


  246. EG

    Phew. Mir. So much suckage and heartache here. It sounds like you have a good open relationship with her dad. So that’s good. Oh, Chickadee. Prayers.

  247. The Other Leanne

    Is this some kind of new record for comments? Just wondering…
    What they all said up there ^^ yep, I agree.
    Little story to share–my (former) partner’s daughter decided at 14 that she wanted to go live with her Dad…it had been a rough several months, we could see that she was troubled and growing more lost. The day we took her to the airport was heartbreaking. It didn’t seem like a great idea and filled us both with dread. But, you know, you just go on faith and hope.. it turned out to be the best thing for her. She seemed to get what she needed there, and grew into a beautiful, talented and strong woman. Well, she would have anyway but that is the path she chose to get there.
    You will never regret the choices you make out of love. My heart goes out to you, to all of you.

  248. Laurie

    Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that. As someone who did not get along with their mother, and almost begged to live with their (divorced, alcoholic) father, I can lend you some support in saying that I think you are doing the right thing in letting her make the decision. It is such a tough, confusing time, and you want to just blame everyone else for everything that goes (and has gone) wrong. Because you just don’t know any different or better. My heart goes out to you, but I also want to share that I was that teen and I did come through it, without the amazing support and choices that you have bestowed on her. Blessings to you and your family.

  249. Jane

    Mir, I read you regularly, but I don’t often comment. I want to tell you how sorry I am for your family’s position, right now. I can’t imagine how hard it is. But I think you are a strong woman who is doing everything and anything to make your situation the best it can be. That is admirable. I have some experience on people close to me taking a stance that is as far from helpful as could be. It’s not fun, but coming through the other side – you have the right attitude to get past it. Positive thoughts are sent your way regularly.

  250. Zoe

    When I was having acute issues with anxiety and depression (in addition to a suspected diagnosis of Asperger’s), I fought relentlessly with my mother. We drove each other insane. I was a teenager, at Chickadee’s age, so I’m sure we would have fought regardless, but it was especially brutal because of my problems at the time. I was exhausted and irritated and angry before I walked through the door, and she didn’t have to do much “wrong” to incite a fight.

    It had very little to do with her, of course. Everything else in my life was taking a toll, and that meant that the relationships that were usually my strongest and most comfortable were subverted and made incredibly difficult for all involved. It didn’t mean that I didn’t love her, but I needed my space. I needed to work through my problems, to be able to have a relationship with her.

    All this is by way of saying what you already know, what has undoubtedly been told to you a thousand times before. Don’t blame yourself for her choosing to live with her dad. Don’t feel like you’ve failed her, that it’s a reflection on yourself that the best thing for her right now is to be away. I don’t need to know every innate detail of the situation to know that she’s not doing this because she doesn’t love you.

    I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can tell you that now, at seventeen, I rarely fight with my mother. We don’t have screaming matches anymore. Not everything’s perfect, of course–we’re only human, after all–but for us, things did get better. They can get better for you, too. Try not to lose sight of that. Don’t let the pain of having Chickadee far away lead you to despair, because this is a concrete step towards things getting better for both of you. It’s going to hurt, of course it will, but there will be good there, too. The good is what counts, what will last when you look back on this years from now.

  251. Nia

    Mir, I don’t know what to say but I wanted to say something. I’m just another anonymous (to you) person who thinks you are amazing and wish you and your family an abundance amount of strength. Thank you for sharing your highs and lows here–and for being so honest. My prayers and love are with all of you. I hope Chickie “finds” what she needs and I admire you for facilitating her decision making even though it’s hurting you. Many, many hugs.

  252. mamaspeak

    my first thought was; “he can’t possibly understand what she needs. Is he prepared for this? How can he be?” I’m feeling panicked for you. As a mama, the very thought of not knowing where my kid is, what she’s doing, every second of the terrifies me. I imagine it’s an inkling in the direction of what you’re going through now. I feel for you. It seems we all do. You all are in our prayers. (((hugs)))

  253. Maryanne

    How difficult it has been to see you and your family caught in the whirlpool of mental illness. No one should judge, only support the difficult decisions you and yours have had to make. Chickie needs to take some control of her life ( with the strong parental support she will have in the background). One way or the other she will find out what is best for her. You aren’t deserting her, she will still be in your life a phone call or a plane ride away. just as she has never lost touch with your ex so will she remain in your life. Step forward holding tightly to those who offer support. Make the decisions you need to make to get her home again and out of the treatment center. Best to all

  254. Ellie

    I’m a lurker but I wanted very much to tell you how helpful your blog has been for me. I work in a school connected to a long term residential psychiatric care facility. I’m just a tutor, so I’m not in on the treatment team meetings for the kids. Reading your blog has been insight for me on how it must be for the parents of my kids.

    I’m so sorry that your experiences with the staff there haven’t been good. I know the staff at my facility (in New York) has plenty of failings, but I do believe they are trying to do their best by our kids. It is hard, draining work. I only work there part time because I know I take their struggles on myself too much and it would eat me alive.

    Good luck to you, Monkey, Otto and especially Chickadee.

  255. Nicole

    I don’t know how anyone could ever tell you that you’re doing this wrong. How do they judge what’s right for this anyway. Unless you’ve been through this exact situation with this exact child then I say you keep your judgments to yourself.

  256. Valerie

    I have not read all comments, but I have to believe in the more than 255 comments above mine that someone in your most insightful, gracious and funny group of readers has already said this. And probably said it better than me.

    Please will judge you poorly and to your face to excuse their own unwillingness to be brave, to be a friend and to love. When they can’t love like they know in their hearts they should, they blame someone else. By telling you it is your fault that they can’t love you, they cruelly try to absolve themselves of their own failings. I know it hurts, but you can’t change it.

    Truth is, only you know if you are doing the right thing for you and your family. Anyone that loves you can only smile, support and offer guidance when asked. You are setting a wonderful example of how to love. Surround yourself with the people that can feel it and cherish it.

  257. Meg

    Like a kick in the gut, the final paragraph. As many others have said, you are a wonderful strong mom. I can’t imagine how difficult it will be to have your Chickie living with her dad, not being with her every day, not knowing exactly what is going on. I can understand from her perspective how it might be easier to go to a completely new enviroment – where the other kids don’t know where she has been for the last several months.

    It is so sad that “friends”, especially close ones, are not supportive. I hope, if you want to, these women work to repair the connection and understand how hurtful they have been.

    In the mean time, I hope the support and love from your blog readers lift you up.

  258. Mary

    Yikes! So sorry that you have to go through this. It will get easier, that I can promise. The big jagged hole in your psyche may not diminish quickly, but it will get better. All I can say is that I went through something similar a long time ago. It took several years, but it did get a lot better. I learned that when you expect your life to work out according to plan, you are always blindsided. Instead, if you trust your gut and learn to adjust to “new normals” you and the ones you love will prevail.

  259. Curious Party


    You are doing the only thing you possibly could do. You are being that child’s mother, in the way that you and only you can. No one else can (or should) judge that with any accuracy or validity, so throw those foolish, uninformed opinions away.

    Keep loving that child with the fierceness of a mother’s heart, and continue to find the strength to let her grow (slowly, painfully, and in the only way she and only she could) into the adult that you will love with equal fire, if more distance.

    Her father will love her and be her father in the way that he and only he can, and I am sure that it will be his best (not because I know him from a hole in the wall, you see, but because I do know that Chickadee’s mother would not release her unless SHE was sure he would give whatever his best was).

    The best of you and the best of her father (and the best of Monkee and the best of Otto, and all the other bests I can’t pull out of my brain right now) will carry Chickadee through the through.

    My heart aches for you, my friend, and also admires this incredible courage to do what you know you must when every sinew is pulling away. Bless you all.

  260. Shanna

    I read here all the time and rarely comment but had to today. I am totally judging the judgers with a big “STF up! and until you are in these shoes just zip it”. Hugs to all of you and I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through but want you to know I laugh and cry with everyone of your posts.
    I have thought about sending my 19 year old to live with his dad since he has been less then stellar about trying to find employment or go to college. So that is as close as I have to what you are dealing with and yes, I know, NOT EVEN ON THE SAME PLANET SHANNA! ;)
    Just remember, it won’t be as though you are sending her to the moon, she won’t be THAT far away and I am guessing that this arrangement is not cutting her off from all of you, so hey, a positive in this big old ocean of negative. ;) Hugs and love from Wisconsin, feel free to escape here if you ever need to.

  261. Christine

    Through tears I want to tell you that your steadfast love for Chickadee, even through all of this and now her decision to go to her Dad’s, is what makes you an incredible mother who I want to emulate. She WILL look back and see that you always put her first no matter what her choices and she will thank you for helping her to become the healthy you adult she will someday be.

  262. Kim in Minnesota

    Mir, I have been here all aong and sending what I imagined was silent support. Now’s the time to let you know that I have judged and found you:
    BRAVE in your approach to life and all it hands you, the good and the bad.
    GENEROUS in sharing it with all of us.
    You have “Taken Hold” of your own responses to such difficult challenges, yet “Let Go” of things that are beyond your control, encouraging Chickadee and Monkey to act with integrity.
    THANKS for the example you are setting.

  263. Marsha

    I don’t think there is a right or wrong here. I did live through the same type of thing as a child though. You gotta do what you think is the right thing to do and not feel guilty about it. No one can judge you unless they have walked in your shoes. It’s hard not to listen to everyone’s comments (negative) I know but you are doing the best you can do and that is all you can do.

    My mom let me make that same decision when I was 12. Different type of problems but same conclusion. I never got the message that if it didn’t work out, I could come back. I would make sure that conversation happens with Chickadee and she understands if she finds it was a mistake she can come to you and move back.

    I am 44 now and even though I have always been close with my mom we just now communicated about the past and what we thought we understood at the time, etc. Living with my dad ended up not being a “good ” thing but I didn’t feel I could come back to my mom’s. She has lived with that guilt her whole life and I can’t make her stop. I never blamed her for her letting me make that decision but I did blame her for not going through the steps to get me back (what’s a 12 yr. old gonna do) when she found out I was in pain. So my unsolicited advice is, to keep doing what you are doing – which is loving her, communicating with her, advocating for her. And let her know you are here for her.

    No one else’s opinion really matters. Just keep telling yourself that.

  264. Erin

    Oh Mir. I wish I knew what to say, but I don’t–so I’ll just say this: I’m with you, my heart goes out to you and your family, and I wish nothing but the best (whatever that is) for each of you. I think you’re so brave and generous and beautiful for sharing all of this with us, and I have no doubt that you’ve changed lives by doing so. I know you’ve changed mine–in more ways that you can imagine, than I can fully realize, than I can put into a comment on a blog post. Thank you.

  265. kapgaf

    No one gets to tell you how YOU should deal with YOUR child and Chickie is sick because she’s sick, not because you did something wrong. How can we be so intelligent in so many ways and yet still be dumb enough to listen to that one person who has no idea how to deal with the situation (or who has loads of ideas but has never actually had to do it!).

    Just keep doing what you’re doing – being a real, live, dealing-with-shit Mom. It’s what’s needed and it’s certainly what makes me care about you and your family.

    P.S. and you’re pretty!

  266. Natasha

    I love you.

  267. Sharon

    sending hugs.
    some days all you can do is love your child and be sure they know you love them.
    other people….just don’t know.

  268. M&Co.

    In my case, it was mu closest family members who told me I was doing it wrong. It’s caused a riff that I think will never be healed. So I feel tout lain.

  269. Cele

    My heart continually breaks for you. The saying goes, “You never understand a person (or their predictament) before you walk a mile in their shoes.” Sadly today people don’t even attempt to try the shoes on let a loan walk a mile in anyone else’s shoes. I wish for you sunnier days and truer friends. You are a good mom.

  270. Aree Ech

    Oh Mir. I am a little heartbroken for you right now. I have read this blog for years and I think you are an awesome mom. When Monkey went through Asperger’s you held his hand and guided him. Even with Chickie you have done so much. It will be easy for others to judge. But never ever doubt that you are the best mom ever to your kids. My prayers are with you and your family. I am sure this story will have a happy ending too. Keep doing what you are doing because it is the best.

  271. Kristin

    Sucky, but yes, it’s the best thing you can do. She’s not 3 – not a “kid” in that sense. I think you phrased that right….she has to take control and hopefully she’ll look back on this moment as that moment that she did. And she will LOVE you for letting her. She will LOVE you for not making life more difficult for her as she chooses to live with her dad. She will LOVE you for being supportive and understanding and encouraging. Which, of course you will, because I’ve read enough of you to know that anything else is unacceptable to you.

  272. sharon

    I think of you and your family all the time. I have dealt with mental illness in my family for a long time now and it’s so hard. It’s helpful when the people close to you give unconditional support and it’s hurtful when they retreat. But from someone not close to you, I think you’re doing the best job you can and being the best mother possible.

  273. Tenessa

    Wow, letting go and letting your children make the big decisions for themselves, there is never an easy time for that. You are and will forever be the exact right mother for your kids. Never doubt that.

  274. Lulu

    OMG. It’s so damn hard to let our kids make those truly important decisions that can have such monumental repercussions, isn’t it? You are so brave and strong! Good on ya — for being you and for sharing whatever you will with us readers. Thank you.

    Best wishes, prayers, and positive energy for you and your family!

  275. NTE

    You’re all doing the best you can, even though it’s hard as hell. Anybody who doesn’t get that, is obviously not paying attention. I wish you all the very best.

  276. Pip

    Hello lovely Mir,

    As person number 276, I recognise that you’re unlikely to be able to reply as you normally do, so don’t feel pressured by any of us! :-)

    I just wanted to let you know that I am utterly in awe of you for giving Chickie the power to make this decision. It’s such a huge thing, and it must hurt you to a depth I cannot possibly understand, but allowing her to make it…I just think you’re amazing.I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with my own mental health, and a lot of that sometimes comes down to not having enough power over my own life. I hope that this decision will give Chickie the strength she needs, and a period of rest for you.

    I used to have panic attacks at my old job, triggered by small things such as customer remarks or the desperate fear that I’d hurt a colleague’s feelings. I would have to go into the bathroom for up to an hour to recover, and go back in with the signs of my crying all over my face. Sometimes slinking back into the office was the hardest thing I ever had to cope with because of the sense of weakness that the whole thing gave me. I can absolutely understand part of why Chickie might want to go and live with her dad, because she’s got that except the ‘office’ is her whole life, and if I struggled to go back into the office I have to wonder if, if I was in her place, I ever would have been strong enough to walk back into her life.

    Again, you’re amazing. The internet throws all its love and you.

  277. J from Ireland

    Oh my heart is just broken for you. You poor poor lady. You are such an inspiring mother, you put your kids first, always. I wish I could wave a magic wand for you. This is such a fucking crap shit awful situation. I dont know how you haven’t cracked up. Best wishes dear lady.

  278. Mona

    Lots of love to you and yours, Mir! If there are any right things in this situation – you have done them all. :) You are not only a wonderful mother but an amazing person.

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest