Dear Hannah Rose,
It is hard to believe it has been 7 years since you were born, my beautiful Hannie Bananie! I am so proud of you in so many ways that I’m not sure I even have words for them all. I still peek at you sometimes when you are sleeping, just so I can marvel at how tall you are getting and remember how tiny your feet once were. You are a wonder and you constantly surprise and delight me with your views on the world and your creative ideas. For your birthday today, I want to put into writing just a few of the many daily reminders I have about how incredibly lucky I am to have you as my daughter.
Over the last year there have been many changes in your young life. You went from living in one home to having two homes- from living with Dad, Alex and me to alternating between Daddy’s house and my house and having Alex live away from us. You welcomed Aubrey into our lives with open arms and a big smile. You became an excellent caregiver for two chihuahuas and two new geckos. You said goodbye to Mom Mom. All of these changes had challenging moments, sadness and joy. And we navigated them together and helped each other. You helped people in ways you didn’t even realize, you helped just by being compassionate and thoughtful, trying again & giving people the benefit of the doubt when conflicts happened, and making us all laugh sometimes when we most needed to!
Each night at bedtime we say prayers. We always start with something we are thankful for, and remember that we’re lucky to have each other and be a family together. These are the things I am grateful for today:
- the way you stole Aubrey’s hat, then told us that we could be a rock band because I had the sunglasses, Aubrey had the tattoos & you had the hat & could sing
- your gentle pat on my arm this morning to wake me up
- how you crawled into my lap after I lectured you about using nice words, and just put your head on me for a minute so I knew you heard me even if you were too stubborn to admit it right then
- how eager you are to help and be part of what’s going on
- the pictures you drew of all of our family members and how you told me that family is the people who are special to you, no matter where they live and if you were born with them or not
- the way you talk to animals with respect and understanding, and how you always make sure they are as okay as the people we are with
- your love of science and nature and your willingness to try new things, even if your first instinct is to stick with what you already know how to do
These are tiny examples, my beautiful Hannah Rose, of the many, many things that make me feel proud of you! If I listed all the things I could think of, this letter would be as long as a big, fat dictionary! For now, I’ll tell you one more thing and then I’ll leave my computer and go back to hanging out with you:
The picture below was taken at a little coffee shop a few weeks ago, on a day when you didn’t have school and we got to hang out for the whole morning together. It was a Mom-Hannah day, running errands and laughing and planning and plotting. When we stopped for this break, we shared a scone and you tasted my piece of quiche lorraine. We talked about the decorations on the wall and what we liked about them, we made observations about the weather & the plates & tried to figure out what the other customers might be going on to do in their own days after they left. We were just there, together, enjoying being mother and daughter. It was somehow “timeless” for me, just a random moment that felt so good not for any particular reason, but because I love you and you love me. And as you always tell me, that’s what really matters.
I love you Hannie Rose! Happy Birthday!