Tata Chippy

Today is Chippy’s birthday. We are so happy and grateful that we get to celebrate with her one last time, because tomorrow our dear Tata Chippy moves down to San Francisco. It’ll be by far the hardest thing for all of us. We simply can’t imagine life here without her. We knew it was inevitable, but we were selfishly wishing Portland would win in the end.

As I write this and look back at photos, I realize how Chippy has been by my side for so many important things in my life. She visited the first summer Ben and I started dating, and she immediately approved of him. We were excited when she interned (and became a Big House tenant), even more thrilled when she decided to move out here after college. She was here for our engagement, where Ben sent us on a scavenger hunt. After walking all around Portland, she waited outside in the rain while Ben proposed to me inside our new home. Our elaborate and DIY wedding could not have happened without Chippy’s help. She threatens to use heavy, large stone as decorations for her wedding as payback. Our dragon boat team will not trust anyone else to steer our boat except for Killa Tilla. Sweatshops after sweatshops: leave it to Chippy to LOVE sorting through thousands of puzzle pieces.

But best of all, Chippy was here when we started a family. She was the first person we told when I found out I was pregnant. She immediately asked, “Do I have to move out?” Ha, on the contrary. She was waiting outside the delivery room when Milo arrived early. And she canceled her trip the night Emmett came, even earlier. We are so lucky to have had her around as we figure out how to be parents. Chippy has seen us in our most vulnerable and humiliating moments without judging or looking twice. With a babysitter and professional photographer always at hand, we won’t lie: we know how good we’ve had it.

It wasn’t always easy living together. Being five years part, the last time we did that was when I was in high school and she was just teenager. I remember coming back during the winter break of my freshman year in college. Chippy looked completely different: she had got her braces off, gotten contacts, and had grown taller than me. I missed her growing up years. So when she moved out here, it took many fights, tears, big sister bullying little sister, littler sister depending on big sister, and Ben mediating before we could learn to treat and live with each other like adults. But it was worth it, as not many get to say they live with their sister and best friend.

Going on 13 years of friendship, Ben and Chippy are partners in crime. She’s the little sister he never had. I often feel like the two gang up on me; Ben swears he’s being diplomatic but I know the two sympathize with each other when they feel the wrath of me (you do not want to see me angry). Ben will miss his coffee run partner in the mornings.

But undoubtedly the person who will miss her the most is Milo. He is one of the luckiest kids to have had his Tata Chippy by his side from day one. He adores her and often proclaims how he “looooves Tata Chippy.” He considers her part of our nuclear family: “three boys and two girls!”

When we broke the news to Milo that Chippy was moving and explained why, he immediately fired back, “I have an idea. Xavier could move up here and live in Portland with us.” (I can’t blame him for trying.) When she promised to visit often, he moaned, “When you visit, you could stay forever. But I want you to stay forever.”

This is the first time he’ll be sad for, well, something real. We’re not really sure how to deal with it. We’ve been reminding him so he knows it’s coming. I’m a cry baby so there’s no point in holding back the tears. But I wish I could…everyone remembers the few times they’ve seen their parents cry. It’s something you don’t forget!

We’ll just have to remind him how we’re happy for her. This is a huge step in her life, and though we can’t be there for it, we will try our best to be there for her. After all, we owe her one (or two).

Tata, we can’t thank you enough. You will always be a member of the band. We love you. Have your phone ready at all times and maybe you should record this video as your alarm clock:

Chippy's college graduation

Chippy’s college graduation in 2006

Me and My Sis

Dragon boat sistas at the Portland race in 2008

Annie came to run me in for the final stretch

Shamrock 2009: Couch Potato says she’s not a runner, but we’ve talked her into many races.

Family Photo in our Circuit Shirts

My epic 30th birthday celebration in 2009: climbing and camping at Lost Rocks.


On the Victoria Ferry in 2009, quite easily one of my favorite pics of us. .


Halloween 2010: Super Glue, Wonder Bread, and Master Lock!


Oktoberfest 2010 in Leavenworth, WA

Big brother and sister

Big brother and little sister (circa 2010)

Day 2 - Happy Tata

11/11/11: Less than an hour old, Milo is held by his most excited Tata Chippy for the first time.


Three years later, holding Emmett for the first time

Milo loves his tata

Morning snuggles. Milo doesn’t offer the counter stool to just anybody.

milo chippy cpao wedding

Not sure if Milo let anyone else dance with her


Tata shows her nephew how to eat ice cream



  1. Better idea, Milo, you guys could all move to SF, too! Happy birthday, Chippy! If you need anything, you know where to find us…

  2. Rebecca Anderson · · Reply

    Annie, that was so beautiful. What a fun era it has been for all of us. We’ll miss you on our Big House pilgrimages, Chippy, but so glad we get to see you in CA.

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