Would you believe

Would you believe that my first entry here on ye olde blog was written when my oldest was six years old, tiny and sassy and chirpy and endlessly chatty, and on Saturday that little bird of a girl graduated from college, tall and lovely and grown and measured and oh, lord (this is no time for humility, right?), loaded down with cords and medals and other symbols of how she rocked the last three and a half years like the utter boss she is?

Would you believe that for years I prayed every day, multiple times a day, that she would just make it through one more day, please, God, I don’t know if I even believe in you but IF YOU EXIST or if there is some sort of overarching protective force in the universe, whatever it is or you are, please, please please please, just keep her safe and whole for one more day so we can get closer to figuring out what she needs and how to help her?

Would you believe that Saturday felt like a dream and a miracle, and that watching her friends and her professors swarm around her with the same pride and exhilaration Otto and I were feeling made it somehow both more and less real, and that for the first time in a very long time, I believed down to my bones that she really is going to be okay—better than okay, even—and that while I will always worry, it’s a Normal Worry or no longer a Panicked Dread Worry?

Would you believe that we left nice and early that morning because Chickadee doesn’t own an iron and when I suggested she try to borrow one she said, “But really I would like you to iron my robe because I know you’ll do it better than I can” and I didn’t even bother to argue with her because why not, I don’t mind ironing her robe? Would you believe that we almost ended up being late because some asshole hit a dog and left it in the middle of the road and we had to stop, HOW DO YOU NOT STOP, and I spent the first part of graduation morning sinking my platform heels in the mud of a ditch petting and begging a sweet little bloodied dog to please be okay while we called 911 and his owner and waited for help? (Would you believe that after such a horrible start to the day, not only was graduation and everything else therein perfection, but the owner let us know that the pup was going to be okay and I nearly cried with relief?)

Would you believe that a friend of Chickadee’s who graduated in May came back for graduation, bringing her boyfriend, and they stayed at Chickie’s apartment and when we arrived and I had ironed the robe and asked if anyone else needed anything ironed, it turned out that the boyfriend had apparently pulled his nice shirt, pants, and blazer out from under the bed? Would you believe I happily ironed his clothes, delighted to be a voyeur to the banter between all three of the young adults vying for space in Chickadee’s bathroom, plus her roommate and HER boyfriend getting ready as well? Would you believe that when this young man went to put his shirt on, the sleeve ripped, and the next thing I knew, Chickadee was sitting in the living room with her sewing kit, sewing it up for him? Would you believe there was also a chihuahua running around (belonging to the roommate’s family) and then HER whole family arriving and one little apartment was overflowing with people and it still didn’t feel nearly as full as my heart?

Would you believe that under her robe my daughter wore a skirt and a bodysuit with an attached cape of vibrant rainbow wings and several times commented that she couldn’t believe I “let her” wear that to graduation? Would you believe she seemed confused every damn time I responded that she’s a grown adult, she can wear what she likes, and that I could think of no better metaphor for this day than for her to be dressed like everyone else but actually be a beautiful rainbow butterfly under her robe? Would you believe that of all the zillions of pictures Otto took that day, my favorite ones are where her “wings” are fully spread and her matching rainbow-painted mortarboard is slanted just so, and she looks like she is on the verge of taking flight?

Would you believe that I wore a new dress with a colorful bird print on it because I loved it the second I saw it and DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE until partway through the day that I was wearing, you know, a dress with a bird print to Chickadee’s graduation, and then at one point the friend’s boyfriend—this darling young man who had just met me that day—said, “Don’t… don’t take this the wrong way because I mean it nicely, but in that dress you sort of remind me of Mrs. Frizzle” and he clearly regretted saying it the second he’d finished but I laughed and laughed and felt like that was the best thing anyone has ever said to me?

Would you believe I told Chickadee we were going to holler for her and she said, “Please do not” and then they called her name and her visiting friend and I screamed until we were hoarse, anyway?

Would you believe there was a woman with a perfect cherub of a giggling pudgy baby sitting right behind me, and I kept turning around to make the baby grin, and I resisted saying to her mother that my daughter was also a giggling pudgy baby just the day before, so don’t blink, Mama, because it happens so much faster than you can possibly know?

Would you believe that other families gave their graduates trips to Europe and cars and lord knows what else as extravagant graduation gifts, but I gave Chickadee a pair of tie-dyed rainbow Dr. Martens because, after all, they go perfectly with the rainbow wings? Would you believe I dared to buy those Docs when she was a sophomore, when it occurred to me that she really probably was going to love them as a future graduation gift, and at the time I realized it was the first future-minded thing I’d done for her in a good long while?

Would you believe Otto is rightthisminute driving a U-Haul of her belongings back home from Tinytown, and she is apprehensive about her temporary move home, but I am delighted, because I know it won’t be for very long, and I want to soak in all I can with her before she’s off on her next big adventure?

Believe it, because it’s all true.

67 Responses to “Would you believe”

  1. 1
    Melissa December 17, 2019 at 11:56 am #

    And now I’m crying. Congratulations, to all of you.

  2. 2
    Lori December 17, 2019 at 11:58 am #

    Congratulations Momma! There was a time when I could not see the future for my child. That child is now 42 and one of the best men on the earth. Momma’s can dare to believe.

  3. 3
    mar December 17, 2019 at 11:59 am #

    Wow, just wow. So many feels! Congrats Chickie – and Momma! On to the next big adventure – which I am sure she will rock as well!

  4. 4
    Karen December 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm #

    This is so beautiful and I am so happy for you both!

  5. 5
    marianne December 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm #

    OMG! Congrats!! I have been a reader of your blog since the beginning! What is her degree in?

  6. 6
    Elan Morgan December 17, 2019 at 12:01 pm #

    I can’t believe it!

  7. 7
    Sarah December 17, 2019 at 12:02 pm #

    Crying here too. I read the story of Chickadee and Monkey long before I even wanted to be someone’s mama, and now, I have a one year old, who is giggling and chubby and was just brandnew yesterday and will be all big and grown tomorrow. And yes, hold on tight.

  8. 8
    Kim December 17, 2019 at 12:04 pm #

    Yes! I believe! I believe all of it!
    Here’s to rainbow butterflies forever! Also, I would really like to see an appropriately blurred photo of cap and wings, so I can get even more tears than I already am.
    Congratulations, Chickadee!

  9. 9
    Cam December 17, 2019 at 12:06 pm #

    I’m teary eyed because not only have I been reading here since the early days but also because once, when my own teenaged girlie reached a depths of despair I did not know how to pull her out of, I reached out to you and you messaged me back with such love and kindness. My girl is finishing high school this year, a shiny new Autism diagnosis in her pocket, and heading off to college next fall. Reading about Chickie has given me so much hope and I am so glad you’ve reached a place of Normal Worry. Here’s to the adventures ahead.

    • 9.1
      Mary Beth December 17, 2019 at 6:22 pm #

      I came to the comments to say almost these exact words. I also messaged when my daughter was in a deep dark place and I also received the kindest, warmest, most sincere words of encouragement from Mir! We are on the possible autism/ADHD diagnosis now. Wishing your daughter a great college experience! Thank you, Mir for being so willing to help others who are traveling a similar path to yours!

  10. 10
    Liv December 17, 2019 at 12:13 pm #

    Omg all misty eyed here, too – way to go, Chickie!! What an amazing day for you all. I can’t wait to hear what she launches into next! Congratulations. ❤️

  11. 11
    KC December 17, 2019 at 12:13 pm #

    These are lovely things to be true. Thank you.

  12. 12
    Alison Conaghan December 17, 2019 at 12:20 pm #

    There’s something in my eye. So happy for Chickie and you all. I have read almost from the start and now feel old but very proud

  13. 13
    Leslie December 17, 2019 at 12:21 pm #

    Teary here at my desk. This was beautiful. Congratulations, Chickadee!

  14. 14
    Tamara K Lang December 17, 2019 at 12:24 pm #

    Happy Tears. Would you believe my same age baby girl will graduate in just a few short months, and I’m both dreading and looking forward to a similar day. (and also that I’ve been reading since that wee girl was also 6-7 years old, and I’m not sure how they’re suddenly graduating college?)

  15. 15
    Nancy R December 17, 2019 at 12:32 pm #

    Congrats, Chickie!

  16. 16
    Dave December 17, 2019 at 12:36 pm #

    Mazel tov! Sending lots of love.

  17. 17
    melissa December 17, 2019 at 12:44 pm #

    just utterly delightful.

    congratulations!

  18. 18
    Brenda December 17, 2019 at 12:45 pm #

    So, so excited! I’ve been following for years, and I understand at least a little how momentous and amazing this is! Congratulations, Chickadee! And congratulations, family!

  19. 19
    Thumper December 17, 2019 at 12:49 pm #

    Oh, wow… CONGRATS! And now I feel old because I think I’ve been quietly following along since the beginning. I am genuinely happy for all of you.

  20. 20
    Karen R December 17, 2019 at 12:51 pm #

    Awesome, and congratulations! I’m so happy for all of you!

  21. 21
    Sarahd December 17, 2019 at 12:52 pm #

    I would believe it all!!! But I’d believe it even better with pictures! Of your dress, of her wings, of the Docs…ALL OF IT! Please?

  22. 22
    Fabs December 17, 2019 at 12:56 pm #

    I do believe all of it because you are the most amazing and supportive mom EVAR! Congrats to you and Chickadee!!!

  23. 23
    Jabberwocky December 17, 2019 at 12:56 pm #

    Also crying here. So excited for and proud of both of you. Congrats Chickadee!

  24. 24
    MaryFran December 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm #

    I believe! And so amazing. And happy for all of you. Chickadee is truly flying! And whoa – the hardware on that robe. I’m surprised she could stand! And PS . So happy the pup is going to be OK.

  25. 25
    Sascha December 17, 2019 at 1:01 pm #

    Awww, congratulations to all of you!!!

  26. 26
    Jan December 17, 2019 at 1:01 pm #

    I love this all so much!! Congratulations to Chickie, and to you and all the people who love her. You wouldn’t wish what she’s been through on your kid, but I believe it has made her a warrior and she is going to move mountains.

  27. 27
    Niki December 17, 2019 at 1:15 pm #

    Congratulations Mama and Chickie!

  28. 28
    Mom24 December 17, 2019 at 1:44 pm #

    So happy for all of you. <3

  29. 29
    Jennifer December 17, 2019 at 2:18 pm #

    So happy for you all!

  30. 30
    Janice Lepore December 17, 2019 at 3:06 pm #

    Welcome to the Other Side of the Through, my friend. Congratulations to all.

  31. 31
    Michelle December 17, 2019 at 3:39 pm #

    Would you believe I started reading your blog when Chickie was about 7 and I was in college, and now I have a seven year old and a pudgy cherub baby and am sitting here in happy sentimental tears in my kitchen? Congratulations to her, and to you all. Thank you for sharing her with us. 🌈

  32. 32
    Chuck December 17, 2019 at 3:59 pm #

    Awesome post, Mir. Congrats to you and Chickie. Also, very glad the doggie you helped will be OK.

  33. 33
    Annie December 17, 2019 at 4:15 pm #

    This is a fantastic post and I second Pictures of the Doc’s please ! Congratulations. When does Chickadee start her blog?

  34. 34
    LoriO December 17, 2019 at 5:17 pm #

    There aren’t enough heart emoticons in the world for how happy this makes me. I do believe. I always have. In both of you.

  35. 35
    Aimee Parrott December 17, 2019 at 5:39 pm #

    I am WEEPING tears of joy after reading this. I believe all of it — and I’m so, so happy for you and your darling Chickadee. <3

  36. 36
    Caroline December 17, 2019 at 5:45 pm #

    *tears* You are the best, your daughter is the best, that dog you saved is the best… this story is THE BEST!! Congratulations!!! Love you!!

  37. 37
    Addy December 17, 2019 at 8:58 pm #

    Well damn! Happy tears all around. Congrats to Chickie. And a huge thank you for allowing us to tag along on the journey.

  38. 38
    Heather December 18, 2019 at 1:06 am #

    Holy hell, woman. Would you believe that hundreds of OG bloggers are reading this and flooding their faces with twin salt water rivulets, particularly those whose younger but just as quirky daughters for whom you gave amazing 504 plan advice to (strangers, and yet we’ve grown with you!) and are just now finishing their first collegiate semesters in a state of flourished accomplishment?
    Believe it, because it’s true. Goddamned proud of you all!

  39. 39
    Shell December 18, 2019 at 4:39 am #

    Can we see a edited version of that photo you told us about #wings

    • 39.1
      Heather December 18, 2019 at 9:49 am #

      Yes! I had the same request!

    • 39.2
      Chris Howe December 19, 2019 at 8:32 am #

      Agree!!

  40. 40
    S December 18, 2019 at 5:25 am #

    Congratulations to all of you! (I began taking back to school photos when my children started school, only because I read about the idea on your blog, way before I even had children myself. I can’t wait for you to close the series with an end-of-school #shoepic)

  41. 41
    Mary K. in Rockport December 18, 2019 at 6:41 am #

    Whew! It’s been a roller coaster saga, for sure! Congratulations and ❤️ to all.

  42. 42
    Sara December 18, 2019 at 6:48 am #

    Would you believe I have been following the stories of your life since you started? Would you believe that after reading this and getting ready to send my own fairly newly-minted grad off to a whole ‘nother country to live and work, this post has me feeling so many things? Would you believe that I loved reading this and wish you all the heartiest congratulations and very best wishes? Believe it, because it’s all true. Well done, all of you.

  43. 43
    StephLove December 18, 2019 at 7:43 am #

    Congrats to Chickadee and to you! I’m glad you had such a perfect day (except for the dog and even that turned out okay).

    I’m so impressed she graduated early what with all the health problems in high school and college. I don’t know how she did that.

    • 43.1
      Mir December 18, 2019 at 9:33 am #

      She came in with a fair number of AP credits, plus she knocked out a few classes every summer to lighten her load during the regular school year, then would invariably take a full load anyway. 😂

  44. 44
    Stacy December 18, 2019 at 8:07 am #

    Yay!!!! Yay!!!! Yay!!!! Congratulations!!!! It’s all so very exciting that I don’t know what to say other than Yay!!!!

  45. 45
    Jenny December 18, 2019 at 9:42 am #

    Congrats Chickadee!!!

  46. 46
    PopC December 18, 2019 at 9:46 am #

    I believe!

  47. 47
    Meg December 18, 2019 at 9:54 am #

    Having read your blog for many years, I am so happy for you all. Congrats to Chickadee and her entire family. And here’s to you for your support of both your kids and for sharing your words with us all for so many years.

  48. 48
    Jenny December 18, 2019 at 11:27 am #

    I am so happy for Chickie, and for you! I’ve been reading for many years, and I remember the scary times. Unfortunately I’m in the midst of those times with my daughter right now. I keep thinking that if I could just have a tiny glimpse of the future, to see that she’s eventually okay, even better than okay, then I might be able to breathe again. I’m really glad you can breathe again, and I hope to join you someday.

  49. 49
    Corey December 18, 2019 at 12:51 pm #

    Would you believe I’m trying not to full-on sob at work because I’ve quietly followed for many years and relate to so many Chickadee and Monkey traits in my own children? Congratulations to you all, including the dogs, as everyone knows it’s the big and little and nearly invisible things that ultimately create rainbow wings with which to soar :)

  50. 50
    Brigitte December 18, 2019 at 1:43 pm #

    I’m another who’s been reading this blog since forever, and now my eyes are damp too! (and I also consider being compared to Ms. Frizzle a compliment).

  51. 51
    Jill December 18, 2019 at 4:41 pm #

    You have all come so far! And yes, I totally get it: “it was the first future-minded thing I’d done for her in a good long while.” I’m not there yet, but I’ve watched you all the way. As you finish, I start. And it turns out ok.

  52. 52
    Jeanie December 18, 2019 at 7:45 pm #

    Congratulations, Chickie! Great accomplishment. You’ve obviously made your mom proud.

  53. 53
    Liz December 19, 2019 at 8:33 am #

    Sobbing happily here on the freezing metro platform. Xoxoxoxo

  54. 54
    Chris A Howe December 19, 2019 at 8:33 am #

    Congratulations to Chickie (and to the family that helped her get there)!!!! What a wonderful reflection on the day and the joy you rightly felt.

  55. 55
    Meri December 19, 2019 at 9:34 am #

    So many deep feelz about this. Way to go, casa mir. You all did it together. ❤🥰

  56. 56
    Diana December 21, 2019 at 1:51 am #

    This gives me hope and I am so happy for you all!!

  57. 57
    Lyss December 22, 2019 at 9:27 am #

    Congratulations, to both of you. So, so happy that you made it to this point.

  58. 58
    Karen. December 28, 2019 at 11:42 pm #

    Awww dang. Hooray.

  59. 59
    Daisy December 29, 2019 at 7:55 pm #

    Congratulations – to Chickie and to all of you! Congrats for not just surviving, but thriving.

  60. 60
    Karen January 1, 2020 at 7:32 am #

    I believe – and I am so very happy for you all.

  61. 61
    Sandy January 1, 2020 at 4:43 pm #

    Happy tears here too. Congratulations to both of you !! I can’t wait to hear what great adventure Chickadee goes on to next.

  62. 62
    Sheila January 4, 2020 at 2:55 pm #

    I can believe it. Because A) of who she is and B) who you are.

    Congratulations!

  63. 63
    Genevieve January 4, 2020 at 6:39 pm #

    I hadn’t seen this till now. What a damn delight to picture her in her rainbow wings under the robe, and then out of the robe matching her hat and thoughtfully chosen Docs. What a girl you have there, your successful and grown adult who persevered and made it through the hardest times and is a fabulous person with a great future ahead.

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