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I’m not gonna lie; I’m a little verklempt today. (Spellcheck insists that verklempt is not a word. Spellcheck is now dead to me.) In just a few short weeks, my blog turns 12, which isn’t all that remarkable, I suppose. But it means that when I started here, Chickadee was just 6. And today, Chickadee is 18.

I once gave birth to a baby and now that baby is a full-grown adult human (theoretically) and I HAVE MANY FEELINGS TODAY. I will give you just a glimpse of some of that, in a minute, but of course we all know the important thing here is THE GOODIES. (Of course.) This morning the kids had traditional birthday cinnamon rolls, as is dictated by family law (prepared yesterday, refrigerated, and pulled out and baked wayyyyyy too early this morning), but yesterday for Nerd Night I made buttered popcorn chocolate chunk cookies.


I adapted ever-so-slightly from that recipe as written (I chopped up Hershey’s Special Dark bars instead of using chips), and she says she adapted slightly from the version in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. (Also, shout-out to Carmen for posting about these cookies and not being offended when I demanded the recipe.)

A heaping plate of cookies left for Nerd Night and that was the last I saw of them. “A little weird but really good” seemed to be the consensus. I may actually try a gluten-free version of these at some point, because 1) salty/sweet chocolate is my jam and 2) there is so little “cookie” and so much popcorn and chocolate, I think it will be amenable to sometimes-finicky gluten-free adaptation.

* * * * *

Last night, Chickie lingered downstairs, sort of following me around instead of going up to her room at her regular time. Her birthdays have always brought a measure of angst along for the ride so I just let it go. It wasn’t until she was hovering over me around 10:30 while I was finishing the dishes and thinking about going to bed, myself, that I asked her if she was gearing up for a birthday freakout.

“Maybe?” She said. “I don’t know.” We looked at each other, years of shared experience hanging in the pause between us. “Maybe I’ll wait until tomorrow,” she offered, almost hopeful. We laughed.

“Listen, this is a GOOD birthday,” I said. “For years we just didn’t even know if we’d get here, and—”

“NOPE,” she said, waving her hands in the air. “Stop talking. No. Don’t. You’re doing that… thing… with EMOTIONS… and I can’t. We’re not talking about it.”

“Okay,” I said. I washed a few more knives and set them off to the side of the sink. She kept standing there. I moved on to the bowl from the mixer, and for a few minutes I really had to scrub to get the cinnamon roll dough remnants off the sides. “It’s just,” I said, after a bit, “I am SO PROUD OF YOU—”

“I’ll cry,” she warned. “Stop talking.”

“Okay,” I said. I finished the dishes and wiped out the sink. I turned to face her. “Why are you still HERE? GEEZ.”

“I was waiting for a hug,” she said. She flung her arms wide. “HUG MEEEEEEEEE!”

I did. I hugged her hard and long and I managed to keep my mouth shut but oh, the things I wanted to say about how much I love her and how hard she’s worked and how lucky we are and how bright the future looks. I wish she could see herself through my eyes. But she’s walking her path and I’m walking mine and I’m just so, so glad those two paths weave in and out of each other as much as they do. And when someone asks you to stop talking (twice) it’s probably time to stop talking.

Tonight we’re going to do a Very Special 18th Birthday Thing together, and I’m excited about that, but mostly I am excited just to be here and for life to feel stable and good.

18. We all made it. Today is a good, good day. Today may just be the BEST day.

29 Responses to “Nerd Night: Buttered Popcorn Chocolate Chunk Cookies”

  1. 1
    Mom24_4evermom April 18, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    Happy Birthday!!! <3 <3 <3

    This made me cry and I so needed to hear it.

    I'm so happy for all of you.

    • 1.1
      Kim April 19, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      Right there with you, sister. Hurray for Chickie! Happy Birth Day, Mir! And now I’m verklempt, too.

  2. 2
    Elz April 18, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    Happiest of birthdays to your not so little one. You’ve all come so far, baby.

    I’m amazed at your bloggy determination, I honestly can’t even remember my log in. So, yeah…plus, cookies!

  3. 3
    Dave April 18, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    The correct spelling is פֿאַרקלעמט.

    Happy birthday to Chickadee!

  4. 4
    Julie April 18, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    We all knew there was going to be crying today. Happy, happy to both of you, today and all year long. What a great team!

  5. 5
    Kate April 18, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    Is the pollen making my eyes water right now? Maybe, but so is your post. I’m so very, very happy you guys made it! Happy birthday Chickie!

  6. 6
    Alison April 18, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    Happy birthday, Chickie! I love this post. My own girl (13 as of this minute, though I expect I’ll blink and she’ll be 18) is not so much about the Words of Affection and the Hugs, so I especially enjoyed this story. And many felicitations to you for getting to this point with your girl as well!

  7. 7
    Dallas April 18, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    I feel so old that Chickie is 18 — I’ve been reading for at least 7 or 8 years! Gracious.

    Congratulations to you and Happy birthday to Chickie!

  8. 8
    Brenda April 18, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Is it weird that I think your readers are pretty firmly Team Chickie and Team Monkey and so today feels celebratory just because we’re all rooting on Team Mir and Co? Happy Birthday, Chickadee!

    • 8.1
      Kim April 19, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      I’m firmly Team Mir. And Otto. Team Otto 4eva!

  9. 9
    el-e-e April 18, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Happy, happy bird-day to the amazing Chickadee!!!!! And to you, Mom: Ya DONE GOOD.
    Really, really good. A+.

  10. 10
    HG April 18, 2016 at 11:54 am #

    Damned onion ninjas.

  11. 11
    Jabberwocky April 18, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    Happy birthday Chickie!!!!

  12. 12
    Stacy April 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    Happy birthday, Chickadee!

    And, wow – yum, I’m thinking those cookies would be a big hit at my house.

  13. 13
    Jenna April 18, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    Happy Birthday Chickie!!! My how time has flown.

  14. 14
    Cheyenna April 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Happy happy birthday!! 🎂

  15. 15
    Corey April 18, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    Happy 18th Birthday to Chickie!
    I’m totally NOT CRYING at work while reading this, thinking of my own Chicky (odd coincidence about the shared nickname), while some things loom in the past, present, and future that sound quite familiar every time I read here.
    Hope it is the BEST birthday yet!

  16. 16
    Rachel April 18, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    Happy birthday Chickie!

  17. 17
    RuthWells April 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    Perfection . Way to go, Chickie. Xo

  18. 18
    Wendy April 18, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

    Happy Birthday Chickadee, I remember the “we made it” feeling well.

  19. 19
    Jeanie April 18, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    Happy birthday, Chickie! Wow, 18! Now that you’re “of age,” can we see a picture of you? Have a wonderful birthday!

  20. 20
    Melinda April 18, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    Happy birthday Chickie! My eyes are watering…must be the pollen. :)

  21. 21
    Jodi April 18, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

    Oh Mir, I’m thinking back to all those nights emailing, when you thought you were never going to get here. I’m so happy for you, and for her.

    Happy birthday! Much love to you both.

  22. 22
    Bob April 18, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

    Happy birthday, Chickadee! And happy birthday to you too, Mir. A milestone for you both.

  23. 23
    The Other Leanne April 18, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    Chickadee, look real hard…do you see us all standing kind of ghostly there behind your mama, waving and high-fiving? You’ve had this team of cheerleaders all along, and we’ll be there no matter what your age. Be proud of yourself, you’ve earned it. Happy birthday, Chickadee. Fly high or wing it.

  24. 24
    pharmgirl April 18, 2016 at 8:02 pm #


    Happy Birthday, Chickadee!

    I hope this finds you with crumbs on your shirt and ribbons in your trash.

    Warmest Regards,
    (the one to the left of The Other Leanne, standing with the ghostly mob behind your mom)

  25. 25
    js April 18, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    Happy birthday, Chickie! Happy birthday, blog!

  26. 26
    Brigitte April 19, 2016 at 10:02 am #


  27. 27
    Chris April 25, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    Happy belated birthday Chickie!!!! (and still just as proud of you as your momma is)

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