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: