I sent you daily affirmations for a while, while you were too far away and dealing with too much, and it was the best way I knew to keep beating out “I love you, I love you” on my heart drum so that you could hear it. You complained, once home again, that I’d stopped doing it. I guess the daily stuff fades into the background, not quite as loud, easy to ignore and easier still to forget where it comes from and what it means.
Part of me is grateful for the forgetting. Last year on your birthday all I wanted was for us to forget, all of us. Especially you, my delicate, emotional sponge. You soaked up everything, got wrung out, soaked up more, and you frayed at the edges a little more each time. As hard as it is to watch, I know it’s harder to live.
Today’s affirmation (1): On your 15th birthday, you are still here, and you are stronger than you knew.
Life isn’t perfect. Not now, probably not ever. Human beings are flawed and life is hard, sometimes—maybe most of the time—and that’s okay. Waves of emotion still crash over you in ways I know you wish they wouldn’t. The difference is that now you get right back up and keep going.
Today’s affirmation (2): You didn’t give up. You falter (you’re allowed to be human!), but it doesn’t stop you. You are unstoppable.
You push. You find the boundaries and sidle right along them and poke and prod and streeeetch to see where they might not hold up. There is not an argument you’re not willing to have to prove your point. There is not a rule you’ll accept as immobile until you’ve thoroughly body-slammed it. You take nothing on face value. You need to work it all out on your own before it’s real and true.
Today’s affirmation (3): Everything that makes you a challenging child to parent will make you a confident, capable adult. (And I truly am glad for this, even when you’re driving me crazy.)
All hail the Meme Queen! You slip your own humor into everything, create your own versions of excellent reasons to laugh. Comic relief is always available, usually in Photoshopped form, but sometimes simply in a quirked eyebrow, interpretive dance, or even just a few words. I confess I kept my blog blocked on your computer purely to hear you squeal, “Moooooom! YOUR BLERG IS BLERKED!” a few more times.
Today’s affirmation (4): As long as you can laugh, you will find a way to be okay.
We butt heads. OH HOW WE BUTT HEADS, you and me. I call you Gretel when you leave a trail of items through the house. I call you Frances when you eschew a carefully-prepared dinner in favor of a sunbutter-and-jelly sandwich. You resent my meddling. And then you resent me telling you that I won’t get involved. We push buttons, both of us. Push, pull, push, pull. It comes from love, you know. It won’t always be quite like this. But it’s okay that it is for now.
Today’s affirmation (5): When you inspire strong feelings in someone, or feel strong feelings in reaction to someone, that’s telling you something important. You’re getting better at listening to that.
I started baking this morning before I’d even finished my coffee. You asked for flourless chocolate cake, saying it was so that I could have some, too, but I teased you that it’s just because the gluten-free version eliminates all that pesky flour in favor of more butter and chocolate. Your sweet tooth is voracious. But it’s also an easy way to hide other things.
Today’s affirmation (6): Today, cake; tomorrow, who knows? I see you there. I see you giving a damn even when you try to pretend you don’t. I see you.
You’ve changed, some. You open yourself up to more people, I think. Slowly, still, but it’s progress. And sometimes people are jerks. But mostly people are kind. And most important: good things happen, bad things happen, but you accept that this is the cost of letting people in.
Today’s affirmation (7): It’s worth it. YOU are worth it. I think you’re finally understanding that.
Our family was incomplete without you, for too long. Whatever you think you know about what matters to the rest of us or how you may “complicate” our household, this is one topic where you underestimate your importance. Yeah, life went on. But it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t right, for any of us. Your brother may be the most effusive when it comes to showing you how much greater he thinks life is with you here, but he’s not alone.
Today’s affirmation (8): You are an important, irreplaceable, and treasured part of our family. Always.
This could be the year, Chickie-pie. I really think it might be. You’re 15, and you’re walking around with a soul that’s about 90, and you probably sometimes wish you were only 5, and I get how that can make for a rather confusing daily experience. But look at how far you’ve come. Look at everything spread out in front of you, yours for the taking. Seriously, look at you now, kid. LOOK. Don’t shrug it away. Own it. It’s you, and you are AMAZING.
Today’s affirmation (9): You’ve come a long way, baby.
Today’s affirmation (10): Look at the last year, and tell me you don’t believe you can get through anything. I dare you.
Today’s affirmation (11): There is a pound and a half of butter in your cake. YOU ARE WORTH A POUND AND A HALF OF BUTTER (and possibly an angioplasty).
Today’s affirmation (12): You inspire me. Today and every day.
Today’s affirmation (13): I love you more than you know.
Today’s affirmation (14): A lot of people love you more than you know. This is because you are lovable, it turns out.
Today’s affirmation (15): Happy, happy birthday to my favorite 15-year-old. You are truly the most amazing thing I’ve ever made (shhh, don’t tell your brother).
Happy Birthday Chickie! You are an amazing young woman. May this be your best year yet!
Happy birthday sweet girl. We have rooted for you and loved you through our computers. Have a great new year!
That is beautiful. Happy birthday Chickadee … Have a wonderful fabulous birthday. We are all so glad that you are home !
Hot damn, it’s your birthday! Your mother will forgive me for swearing. I, and the whole Internet, wish you a magical year filled with everything you never knew you wanted.
Happy Birthday Chickadee!
Happy birthday, Chickie!
Happy Birthday, Chickadee! Revel in the butter, sugar, and love.
Hooray for Chickie’s birthday and for being together to celebrate!!
Happy birthday dear Chickie, my favorite band geek I’ve never met! :) You’re a Phoenix rising from the ashes of the last year, stronger for it. May this year bring you peace and happiness and a lot of flourless chocolate cake.
And a recipe that calls for a pound and a half of butter must be shared, Mir! My gluten-free self would like to partake ;)
I used this recipe, though I left the cocoa out of the frosting. :) (Should probably clarify that I tripled that recipe!)
Hurrah for celebrating! Hurrah for Chicky! Hurrah for another chance at a brand spanking new and improved year! Hurrah for Mom who hung in there and for pete’s sake,
last but not least, HURRAH FOR SERIOUSLY BUTTERY CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!
Happy Birthday Chickee. From one April Baby to another, we’re the best. May this be your year and the start of many wonderful things!
Happy Birthday Chickie!!!!! Hope you have a wonderful day and lots of chocolate cake smiles (send a peice to me okthanksbye) :)
Mir, you make me cry every darn time!!!
Happy Birthday to the almighty and totally awesome Chickadee. You quite possibly have a better shoe collection than I do, and your self-awareness is fabulous.
Ermahgerd, I want the cake recipe!
Happy Birthday, Chickadee. You are much loved, kiddo, and my wish for you is that you feel that, today and always.
Now go thank your awesome mom for your awesome cake.
Happy, happy day Chickie. You are an amazing young woman.
Happy Birthday Chickadee!!!!!!!!
Have a great birthday Chickadee! Enjoy that delicious cake.
Happy birthday Chickie!
Way more than 15 tears, 15 smiles, 15 celebrations for the one and only Chickie. Happy Birthday!!! So many people sending you magic and birthday wishes and happiness today! Including me. :)
Happy Birthday to the smartest, strongest, bravest, most hilarious Chickadee I’ve come to know. Is it too much to ask for another guest post in the near future? Have an awesome day, filled with the love your mom is pouring all over you up there in that post.
15 was my year, 20 years ago. I think it was because a lot of things fell into place at once: I got contacts and my braces came off; I joined the quiz bowl team, something I’d been scared to do before, along with a bunch of other activities; and Bill Clinton was running for President, so I always had something to talk about. It’s a different world nowadays, and you and I are different people, but I think we have a lot in common, and I hope your year is the best ever.
Great big hugs,
Hurray for birthdays!!
Happy birthday Chickie!!! Enjoy your fabulous day and yummy cake!
Happy birthday to Chickadee and may a grand buttery celebration be had by all!
Happy Birthday Chickie. Thanks for letting your mom share you with us.
Also, Flute players rule. It’s yet another way you are awesome and amazing
Fifteen?? How did that happen? (Happy blergday!)
I used a new recipe for flourless chocolate cake at Passover. Only a pound of butter, but there is also chocolate liqueur. Which reminds me that I have to figure out what to do with the rest of the bottle….
That really shouldn’t be hard. :)
Hey, Chickie! Happy birthday! Stay awesome and keep kicking butt. :D
Happy Birthday Chickie! May you grow in wisdom, and may you always be able to laugh (even if it’s usually at your own family)!
Happy birthday, Ms. Chickadee! Your mom is right (always, but then again, I’m a mom, too, so I’m going to say that, right?) that a lot of people love you more than you know. Including complete strangers from the Internet. That probably sounds creepy, but I believe that it’s also the source of strength for all of us who receive that love when we most need it. And all of us need it, at one point or another.
Chickie, you’ve had people all around the world cheering you through this past troubling year….now you have people all around the world cheering you for turning 15! 15 is an exciting year! Enjoy it!
Happy Birthday to you both!!! (Moms do deserve a smidge of acknowledgement on these days too.)
Happy, happy birthday Chickadee! I hope this is the best birthday ever. With that cake, it has to be close, at least.
Adding to the virtual band … with my “Happy B’day” music :)
May all the 5’s be YOURS! (15, 25, 35, 45, 50-59, 65, etc!)
Happy birthday, Chickadee! I hope you know there are tons of people out here who root for you and think you’re swell.
Happy birthday Chickie. And Mir! Enjoy every last bite of your cake.
Happy birthday, Chickie! Hope it’s wonderful, and that you spend the whole day reveling in how much you are loved and valued and cherished. And cake. Always cake.
Happiest of Birthdays to you, Chickie!
Chickie….On your birthday, I want to thank you for showing me just what a strong woman is capable of accomplishing. And if you want to share that out-of-this world sounding cake with all of your admirers, then you pretty much rule the world. Happy Birthday!!!!
Happy Birthday Chickadee! I second the motion for another Chickie guest post!
Mir, your honest and heartfelt writing has brought a tear to my eye today! I’ll give my boys an extra hug tonight!
I hope you all can just relax this afternoon and just enjoy being with one another!
Happy Birthday Chickadee. I hope you know just how amazing you are.
Good grief…15 already! Happy Birthday, old lady! ;o) You are an inspiration to A LOT of people!!! And I would really love a pound and half of butter in my cake!
Happy birthday, you wonderful, funny, complicated, kind, caring woman, you. I know this much about you without even meeting you because of how much your mom thinks you are awesome. LIfe is so hard, sometimes, but so worth it, and you have a really special perspective that many people don’t get to see. I hope you can value it, even when it’s especially difficult, but even if you can’t, you still have it. And it only makes you better, I think. Fifteen is hard on its own sometimes. That thing your mom said above, about the desire to be older and younger at the same time? I think it was strongest for me at fifteen and sixteen. You can do it, and you can do it beautifully. :)
I hope she has a great birthday. If she ever doubts number 14, you have a million comments on this blog and your facebook page to show her it’s true.
Happy Birthday, Chickadee!
And Happy Birth Day to you, Mir. So much happier this year than last!
Happy, happy day!
Happy birthday, Chickadee! You are wonderful and amazing and I hope this year is as incredible and exciting as last year was difficult.
And Mir, you’re pretty amazing yourself. I can see where your lovely daughter gets her strength and sense of humor.
Happy Birthday Chickadee! From all us weird stalker-types out here, we are rooting for you and wish you all the best for the year ahead.
Happy Birthday, Chickie! It seems like yesterday you were turning 9! How time flies….
Happy Birthday, Chickadee! You are good enough, you are smart enough and dammit, people like you!
Ya know, my allergies were acting perfectly fine until I got to #7. Then my eyes started watering and my nose started running. Damn allergies ;).
Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday Chickadee!!! Eat cake!! And then some more cake! And after that, cake!
I hope your day is everything you want it to be and then some :D
Happy birthday, Chickadee!
Happy happy birthday to fantabulous Chickadee!! May you have all the gooey buttery chocolatey cake, all the giggle-inducing memes, all the wonderfulness and may it just get better and better and better.
Happy birthday, Chickadee, I hope it’s been a great day!
Happy birthday Chickie!!
What a moving letter to your lovely daughter. Happy birthday, Chickie!
Happy Birthday Chickie!
I see myself and my Mom in you and your Mom and I love hearing about you! It’s strange that I’m still probably slightly closer in age to you (27 AK!) than your Mom, but I’ve come through the other side of teenagedom to assure you it honestly gets SO MUCH better in your 20’s… And yes, I promise I can still acutely remember what it was like to be a 14/15/16/17 year old even though to you I sound SO OLD!
It’s hard in the moment, but enjoy it and be excited about everything that’s to come. 15 was a pretty fabulous year for me and I wish you the same.
OMG you made me cry! This is a very sweet post, happy birthday Chickie!!
Happy birthday x 15!
My amazing daughter’s birthday is today TOOO! Happy birthday, Chickie and Pynni! Pynni would like you to know that you both share your birthday with the 10th Doctor.
PEE ESS: I LOVE the affirmations!
Read your post and skipped the comments (will go back and read them, of course) but just wanted to let you know… You are amazing. Mir, Otto, Chickie and Monkey. You have all conspired to make today an amazing day. Celebrate. Love. Rejoice. Today is an occasion worth its weight in gold. Sending the warmest of feelings and grandest of loves to a family that made it all possible. Happy, Happy Birthday, Chickadee. You are an inspiration!
Happy Birthday Chickie!!!! Mir, you post touched me the way you encourage your children and are there for them and point out the best in them. Especially that you believe in them even when they don’t believe in themselves. You have fought hard for them. I know it wasn’t easy when Chickie was gone but you let her go out of your selfless love for her and now she is home and turning 15….Wow so proud of how you all held it together….
This is gorgeous. You are gorgeous. Chickadee is gorgeous. Sending so much love and admiration and hope to all of you, today and every day. xoxo
Happy birthday Chickie! The blerg lerves yew!
Happy Birthday, Chickie! I’m sorry if I’m a day late but I firmly believe birthdays need to be celebrated for a week minimum! Have a terrific year!
Awesome letter! This will be one she treasures for years!
Happy Birthday Chickie! 15 and fantabulous (fantastic+fabulous=fantabulous)
Hope you had a great birthday Chickadee! Your cake sounds awesome and so are you. I third the request for another guest post from you. I hope that 15 turns out to be a truly wonderful year for you!
Happy Birthday Chickadee and Mir too! Beautiful letter. Enjoy the cake and celebrate with joy all the good in this new year.
Happy, happy day!!
Oh, yeah. This is the year. No doubt in my mind.
Oh, Happy Happy Birthday, brilliant, beautiful, hilarious Chickie!
Happy birthday, Chickie!
Like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, I’m late for a very important date but I get to wish you not just Happy Birthday but happy un-birthday for all the days! Hope you managed to eat all the cake you wanted.
Happy 15th Chickie! Enjoy the family and the cake!
Happy Birthday, Chickie!!
Wishing your Chickie a splendid birthday and an even better year! She inspires me, too!
No one is perfect; they just look that way because you don’t know them well enough. Never, never forget that perfect is boring. And you, my dears (thank goodness), are definitely not boring! Have a wonderful birthday and a magnificent 15th year!
My best heartfelt wishes to the birthday celebrant there! Indeed there’s nothing more powerful than a simple affirmation. Bringing an individual back on the good track is really something I can truly admire.
Happy belated to Chickadee! And please pass along our gratitude that she has allowed her mother to so eloquently share your family’s story. Please tell her that it is directly helping other teenagers halfway across the country who are struggling with similar challenges. This blog allows C’s light to shine into far away dark corners and deep crevices that she doesn’t even know exist….
Goodness, how in the world did I miss this? I’m sitting here on April 23 with tears in my eyes (that started at affirmation #6 and did NOT let up). Happy belated birthday, Chickadee. Love and hugs to you and your amazing mother.
I hope your beautiful daughter has a blessed birthday. That was beautiful what you wrote.