Draw Something, say something

Before Chickadee left, she made me load Draw Something onto my phone. “It’s super fun,” she said. “We can play together and you will love it, I promise!”

My drawing skills are rudimentary at best, but on my tiny phone screen with my suddenly-fat-feeling finger, there are kindergarteners who look like Da Vinci compared to me. My drawings are straight up terrible. The only way she can possibly guess anything I draw is when I write hints over the top of my scribbles. “You’re real super good at this,” she commented one day. You wouldn’t think sarcasm could drip off of a phone screen, AND YET.

Yeah, well. That from the girl whose drawing for “YACHT” was simply scrawling “This is the sound you make when you need to puke!” Points for making me laugh, anyway. I keep guessing, and drawing, and adding notes that I hope somehow say the things I’m carefully trying not to say.

“Text me every day,” she said. “Don’t get upset if I don’t always answer, but just let me know you’re there, okay?” So I do. And I draw shapeless blobs and dare her to decipher them.

She won’t start school until Monday, so for now, she texts me multiple times a day. “I put all of my clothes away! Yay me!” “We’re out running errands.” “What are the last 4 digits of my SSN? Dad can’t find it.” I respond as needed, and when she calls the house I pick up the phone and say things like, “We’re happy with our Internet Service Provider, thank you, please take us off your list” so that she can tell me that I am Not Funny.

On Monday she was gone and I knew she was gone and I had a bunch of appointments and after school was out, Mario’s mom and I sat out on the deck drinking coffee while the boys ran down to the pond to terrorize the frogs. My kind friend asked me how I was and I said I was fine, it was all okay, I was going to take it one day at a time and maybe this would be perfect and whatever she needs is the right thing.

On Tuesday she was gone and I knew she was gone and I had a lot of work to do and a couple of appointments and in-between I ran out for groceries and whipped up a giant pot of soup. Tuesday night was our first event of the year over at Hippie School, and we were directed to dress up, so Otto threw on a jacket and Monkey proudly donned his tuxedo t-shirt (I can’t help it, it makes me laugh) and I said fine, what the heck, and I put on a fancy dress and 5-inch heels and off to school we went. We admired the displays and listened to presentations and mingled with other parents and I tried very hard not to look at the older siblings who were there to see what their little brothers and sisters were doing. As Monkey and Marmoset fell into lockstep, Marmoset’s mom asked me how I was doing.

“I’m hanging in there,” I said—my standard answer.

She lowered her voice. “When does Chickadee leave?” she asked.

“She’s already gone, she left this weekend.” Her face registered shock. Hadn’t she just come home? “Yeah, it was quick. Better to get her up there and settled and back into school.” And then I changed the subject. After a couple of minutes Mario’s mom joined us and we continued talking and joking and watching our wonderful collective brood of quirky kids enjoy their time together.

On the way home in the car I texted her, as I’d been directed earlier in the day. “Headed home from Hippie School.” She didn’t call that night, which was fine.

On Wednesday she was gone and I knew she was gone and I didn’t have any appointments at all, so I kept putting off taking a shower and getting dressed. Eventually it was dinnertime and Otto came home and I still hadn’t gotten dressed, so really, what did it matter? I ate dinner in my bathrobe and the world continued to turn. She called last night, full of news of the day, telling me all about the electives at her new high school, she will maybe take jewelry-making if it’s not full, the classes there are SO MUCH COOLER than the classes here at home, isn’t that neat? I told her it sounded really cool and that I hope she’s able to get in.

When we hung up, Otto read the terror on my face (what if that high school really IS so much better/cooler and she never comes back?) and made a snide comment about beading being unlikely to help her get into college, and I chuckled but asked him to stop. I made the dog come curl up in my lap and she thoroughly washed my face with the same tongue she uses to lick her butt and I just let her.

Today she’s gone and I know she’s gone and she woke me up with a text before her doctor’s appointment this morning. Monkey is working on his virtual school assignments and I’m working on work and later I’ll take him to a doctor’s appointment and then probably to Sonic for a treat. Chickie’s texting me about how the pediatrician her dad took her to this morning was male and that was weird and so she refused to get undressed because “I don’t get naked for random people!”

There’s so many things I want to say, but she’s gone and I know she’s gone so I just tell her she’s a dingbat and I love her and it’s her turn in Draw Something.


  1. Kyre

    You’re doing good, Mama. You’re doing real good.

    So many hugs,

  2. Kelly

    My heart aches for you. But I am glad to hear Chickadee is settling in at her new school.

  3. Emily

    Letting your babies leave the nest is hard. I hope she finds what she’s looking for and realizes that her HOME is with you.

  4. The Domestic Goddess

    You know that saying, “If you love someone, set them free?”

    I hate that freaking saying.

    You’re the awesomesauce, yo. Just sayin’.

  5. Kyallee

    There’s a line in the song “Happiness” by The Fray that goes:

    But you are gone – not for good but for now
    Gone for now feels a lot like gone for good

    and the last stanza:

    Happiness is like the old man told me
    Look for it, but you’ll never find it all
    Let it go, live your life and leave it
    Then one day, wake up and she’ll be home

    Not that a pop song can touch your pain and “Happiness” seems a very remote goal, but sometimes it helps me to have something to howl along with when I can’t find any other way to express that which is breaking my heart.


  6. Anna Marie

    Keep breathing, you can do this.

  7. Angela

    As long as you shower at least once a week and no one accidentally complains about your odor, I think you’re doing just fine. Ben and Jerry’s Karmel Sutra ice cream is beyond amazing and gluten free. You should try a pint. Or two. It does make stress easier to manage.

    Really though…me thinks some exercise would help. If nothing else you can run “away” from your pain on a treadmill or something.

    Keep breathing.

  8. MitMoi

    The picture I see here is


    …. anyone should be able to do that on "draw something" and get it :)

  9. stephanie

    this makes my heart hurt… i can’t even imagine how it is for you…

  10. mamalang

    Oh Mir, I know this is terribly hard for you, but I’m sure you are doing the right thing. Someday she will be able to fully tell you how much it was the right thing. I speak from experience. But in the meantime, we are here to offer support.

    I refuse to play Draw Something anymore with people that own iPads until I have one of my own to play on. It’s just not fair :)

  11. RL Julia

    You can do this… and look – you already are!

  12. erika

    There just aren’t words.

  13. Midj

    And then there’s Words with Friends, my connection to my son who is only 4 hours but a world away… So Amazing the joy when I see the badge pop up when he’s played a word. Keep drawing, fat fingers and all. Sometimes it’s really fun to draw something that takes them a while to figure out but then makes sooooo much sense. Kind of like life. And Bacon…

  14. Mary K. in Rockport

    When my younger left for college (yes, THAT one) a friend gave me this commentary. “You will feel terrible for a week, maybe two. You will cry. Then you will feel start to feel great.” Your situation is different, of course, but I hope the hole in your heart is starting to heal; Chickadee is not in that horrible place anymore, at least.

  15. Kristine N

    Brave and strong are words for you…. Hang in there

  16. abbeyviolet

    You are strong in love and wisdom. You are awesome and so is she.

  17. suburbancorrespondent

    Stay strong! You’re doing all the right things. And there is so much that is out of a parent’s ability to control – it’s just that you know that and the other parents don’t (yet).

  18. birchsprite


    Your home will always be home to her… I know it!

  19. Amy

    Remember how I told you about how my mom and I didn’t get along until I left home and figured out how smart and wonderful she really was? I can so see this happening with Chickie. She’s going to come back to you with a whole new appreciation for you and so much more knowledge about herself. And if you’re lucky, a homemade necklace.

    Also, I’m still praying for y’all every day!! Much love!

  20. Arnebya

    Refusing random nakedness is a good thing. I was so terrible at Draw Something that I let my girls play my friends for me. They never knew the difference. She’s gone, but she’s still there, Mir. She’s still there.

  21. Megan

    Those fat-fingered drawings are just one strand in that ginormous rope that is tying her to you – to all of you. Right now she has to float free for a bit, but the rope is still there and she not only knows it, she’s helping to tie it nice and tight. She’s physically gone but it sounds like, well it sounds like she’s THERE with you in a way she hasn’t been able to be for a while.

  22. Janet

    You’re doing it. It’s oh so hard, but you’re doing it. I love that you’re playing Draw Something…it’s a definite connection. Have you seen this site? It’s a guy who incorporates Hitler into his Draw Something pictures. If you need a laugh, it’s utterly hilarious. http://ignorehitler.tumblr.com/

  23. Karen R

    It is difficult enough to let them leave for college. This is so much more. Chickie will return — stronger, better, and hopefully easier than before. One day at a time…

  24. Liza


    Here’s my sad-faced, curly-haired ascii art picture of my friend. Who will be ok, even though it sucks.

    (This is why I also don’t play these games.)

  25. Joanne

    What you say: She’s gone and I know she’s gone and she woke me up with a text..”
    What I read: She is away, and is missing you like crazy, and is craving the daily contact.

    You are going to be OK.
    You’ll have good days and bad, and so will your little Chickie… but you’re both going to be OK.

  26. Sonia

    She’s not gone. Sounds like she’s trying more than when she was physically there. I can’t begin to imagine what you feel everyday. You are so strong.

  27. {sue}

    Keep swimming, Mir. Even in this giant ocean of emotion. Always thinking of you and her.

  28. jodifur

    Oh Mir, just keep swimming. I want to say it will get easier. But I don’t think it will. I think it will just be. You love her. She knows that.

  29. Jan in Norman, OK

    \/ ; ;\/
    (= • =)

    picture of Licorice.

    (hope it doesn’t get scrambled in translation)

  30. Jan in Norman, OK

    Hmmmph…well, it did get scrambled.

    Anyhow, I found her directive to text her every day because she wanted to be sure YOU were THERE very heartening.

    little steps…..

  31. Aimee

    My heart just hurts reading this. I believe that you will all be fine, but good grief, does it have to be so HARD?

    I guess, looking on the bright side, it’s unlikely that Chickadee will have to worry about anybody stealing her Tampax and Clearasil now.

  32. Issa

    I can’t think of anything to say except to help you with funny sayings when she calls. My brother used to answer the phone with: Grand Central Station. His standby now is Carols house of horrors. My favorite now when he calls me is always Melvins Sperm Bank. Basically my brother and I are weirdos.

    Some times i want to hug Steve Jobs (which sounds strange now) for giving us phones that have apps that can help us stay connected in small ways to our loved ones.

  33. Kellie

    Just keep swimmin’ Momma – every day is a day you both move forward – and that will eventually bring you back together. Much love.

  34. Monica

    Not even close to the same thing Mir, but my girl is away on an exchange year (she’s in university) and I was stunned at how much worse it was having her a plane flight away vs a drive away at her apartment near the school. What I am thankful for every day is that this is not 20 years ago. We text almost every day and Skype at least a couple times a week. Yesterday we spent an hour on Skype shopping online for the perfect boots.

    Keep up the little connections, I can also recommend Songpop for a free game that goes on and on forever :)

  35. brigitte

    I’m glad Chickie seems excited for now, though of course my evil side hope she’s desperately longing to come back in a few months ;-)
    Thank goodness for the wonders of modern phoneryness!

  36. valerie

    Thank you so much. You have made me realize the decisions my parents made for me when I was younger weren’t because they hated me. They weren’t becuase they didn’t want to deal with my “craziness”, my cutting, my depression. I am 33 years old with 2 babies of my own, and it has taken you and your honesty to make me finally see my parents loved me. That they were doing the best they could with what they had. I’m calling my mom tonight, something that hasn’t happened in far too long.

    Thank you.

  37. Lucinda

    This girl will someday know just how amazing her mama is. She will. What you are doing is incredible. I’m sorry it hurts so much.

  38. cheyenna

    Love and hugs and you are stronger than you know.

  39. karen

    I don’t think I have the right words either. I keep writing a comment, and then it seems all wrong. Thinking of you and wishing you all the best all the way around. Just that.

  40. Anna

    Hang in there.

  41. CuriousCat

    what Amy #20 said. also, i see NOTHING WRONG with wearing your bathrobe all day and eating Karmel Sutra (karmel sutra.heh.) ice cream.

    If that’s not a recipe for healing, i don’t know what is.

    i dont get naked for random people either so fist bump, chickie! (although my reasons are more because of the bathrobe wearing, ice cream eating thing. but still.)

  42. Katherine

    It’s good to hear that she is excited about her new school, but that she also wants that daily contact with you. I know you will get to see her less than when she was in the hospital, but this seems SO MUCH better, to have her mostly happy and healing and in contact with you daily. I’m sure you are counting down the days until you can see her again – will it be for Thanksgiving?

  43. Korinthia

    I am in tears. Just imagining my kids leaving for college one day gets me all upset, so I can’t imagine having to let any of them leave for high school. I’m glad your daughter is happy and getting a chance to be with her dad, but I’m so sorry you have to be without her.

  44. Melody

    I cry at your posts and cry at the comments, and I am not even living your sorrow. She is still here on earth and still breathing. There is hope for a long future of a great relationship. I am sorry that the road to get there is so lonely with her far away.

  45. Varda (SquashedMom)

    Oh babe, the words dance along the surface so lightly yet the pain underneath is sharp, jagged and palpable. Different days you will cope different ways. Some will be easier, some will be sheer hell. We are here, virtually hugging you through all of them. It will get better over time (except for the moments when it will suck worse than ever) and then, some day, she will be home. HUG.

  46. Genevieve

    She asked you to text her every day — meaning she already knew she’d be missing you so much and needs to hear from you. Draw something on tiny phone (I do it too) is hard but funny, and funny will help. and contact will help. and maybe Words With Friends along with Draw Something, and y’all can write silly words to each other.

    Thinking of you so much. You are such a good mama.

  47. Kristin

    I think I just cried a bit over Valerie’s comment. The things we do for love.

  48. RuthWells

    Whenever the phone rang during dinner, my father would answer “Duffy’s Tavern, Duffy ain’t here.”

    Feel free to add to your arsenal…..

  49. Leah

    I thank you for sharing your heart. You are doing a good job.

  50. Beth B.

    Day by day – step by step. I’m thinking of you and praying for you. Like everyone else has already said – you are doing good.

  51. The Other Leanne

    1. Cut out Valerie’s comment.
    2 Laminate it.
    3. Look at it every day.
    4. Possibly let Licorice lick it.

  52. Em

    Doesn’t matter how cool high school is, you are the only mom she’ll ever have and you will always be home to her.

  53. Kateebee

    As I was reading this I got a phone call “just to check in while I wait for my bus” and then a burst of text conversation from my found-herself 23 yr old. She lives in the next province. She sent me a picture of the first snow on a bus bench this morning.

    This is the kid that I would MSN from computer upstairs to her computer downstairs in order to give breathing room in our “conversations / interrogations”.

    In my mind she’s on an extended vacation and keeping in touch. Thank Star Trek for making the idea of portable communication a goal.

    I’ve found we have both grown calmer and more forgiving of each other. There are running jokes and secret codes.

    She’s reaching out to you while finding herself. You’re a great mum.

  54. Ellen

    I can completely understand your feelings. My paranoia (which was part of my kid’s problems to begin with) went straight to: Why won’t she get undressed for the doctor? Is she hiding the cutting? My daughter was (is?) a cutter, too. Be strong, and pajama days are totally on my calendar – they are never to be felt guilty for; they are deserved rest days. Sending you positive vibes.

  55. Rachel

    You are an awesome mom! Enough said.

  56. sarah

    Good for you. You are strong.

  57. kathryn

    I love you, Mir. She will always be your girl.

  58. Stephanie Stenner

    :( Such a hard, hard time for you, Mir. I’m sorry.

  59. Paula

    The first week my son hat moved out I sat in his room on the floor and cried. Over all the things I hat not succeeded to teach him, over all the good times we have had when he was a little boy. Over never again living all together. “Cut the umbilical cord” said my husband.

    The second week I bought a new little white carpet to put my yoga mattrass on and was pleased about the new space for our clothes-horse, the silence in our appartment, the tidy bathroom and my free time to care for myself and my husband.

    After four months our son moved back in, because his appartment-share had dissolved. Hmmh. You never know, life changes so quickly sometimes!

  60. wendy

    (((hugs))) Hang in there…

  61. JennyA


    (And I suck at Draw Something, too.)

  62. Liz Raptis Picco

    I so appreciate your post, Mir! It took me back to the devastating time when I had to say good-bye to our baby daughter when the birth mom changed her mind and then had to say good-bye to our sons every time we left them at the orphanage sobbing after a weekend visit, promising them we’d be back. Good-byes suck, plain and simple!

  63. s

    You may not be great at drawing but you sure can write.

    If she’s all right then you will be all right even if she’s gone and you know she’s gone, because she’s right in the big fat center of your big fat heart.

  64. Sharon

    You did good, mom. Oh, the things we do to stay connected to our kids….

  65. sheryl

    :o( i hope it’s not this hard the whole time.

  66. The Other Dawn

    Thank God for modern technology, eh? Hang in there, pretty lady.

  67. Stimey

    You’re such a good mom. Hang in, okay?

  68. Chris

    Technology used for good – I like it. Hang in there

  69. EmmaC

    Support and love, you has it.

  70. Cele

    You would think Licorice would think of these things before applying tongue to face (especailly your face.)

  71. Mary

    Maybe you should be honest with Mario’s mom and Marmoset’s mom and let them know that you are struggling. That’s what friends are for. :) Every little bit of support helps. Sending good thoughts your way.

  72. Juania

    I can feel your pain just from reading this post. I agree with Mary, I think you should be honest with Mario’s and Marmoset’s mom as well. I’m sending supportive and happy energy your way…

  73. liv

    i continue to keep you in my thoughts, mir…

  74. C~

    Awww, Mir…*gentle hug and pats*

  75. Lori in MN

    Thank you for writing. Thank you for how much fun my 10-yr old chica and I are now having with Draw Something! Even with her broken finger, whose x-ray looks eerily like yours but only required pins under the purple cast. And it sure seems that you are missed at least as much as you are missing…

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