Dear Hannah Mary,
4 Years ago today I was in the middle of my labour with you. Daddy and I had already spent one night in the hospital and we hand another night to endure before you, my sweet baby, would make your appearance at just before 6 pm. I did the math once to calculate the number of hours I was awake before you, my precious girl, lay sleeping in the hospital bassinet beside me, only hours old. It was 55 hours from the moment my water broke until I slept again. (You know it is long when the nurses work their shift, go home and another set come on duty, they go home, and my original nurses are back on shift and Hannah was born just before they went home.) But it was worth it. I said it then and I continue to say it now: Hannah you are more than worth it.
The words from Psalm 139 had never meant more than the moment I laid eyes on you:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
- Psalm 139:13-16 ESV
You are a beautiful creation of God born in His image. While you live in a world gone astray, with people who are broken and in desperate need, we know that God put you in our family and we delight in you. You made me a mommy and I am so thankful for the daunting task of loving you and raising you. I want so much for you to know that Daddy and Mommy love you with a love so unconditional that when you hurt we hurt. That when you do something wrong and see you making choices that we know need correcting its out of such a love. We are not content to leave you where you are now but want to help you grow.
We watched you as a baby; so determined and strong willed. You knew what you wanted and what you didn't want from the get go. That is still true today, only with more stubbornness than I thought possible. You daddy says often "you are so much like mommy" and it makes him smile. I see how much you are like mommy and it often causes us to bristle with one another. When you are angry you do not want anyone to touch you or hug you. You are quick to have feelings about everything. I get that, I understand. But just as I frustrate myself you frustrate me often too. I love the quiet moments we share and the special things that are just between you and I.
Hannah you love to dance and sing. You twirl around the rooms of the house with abandon. Just like lots of girls you seem to have a penchant for clothes. You create so much laundry for mommy with you countless wardrobe changes. You make mommy and daddy smile when you bounce into the room in the morning shouting angrily that you have NO CLOTHES THAT YOU LIKE.
I love watching you learn my love. You have a creative mind that enjoys being challenged. You learn with your eyes and your hands. You have a tendency to want things to look just so and when your hands fail you your temper does not. You have made me a better teacher. I have a such a passion to find and create so that you can also find and create with me.
You are an amazing big sister. But I know the truth; you need your brother as much as you think he needs you. I see you grab hold of him when you are uncomfortable and scared. You love your brother so much. People ask me every once in awhile what I did to make you guys so close. But in truth I didn't do anything. It is a gift from God. It's a gift I hope you value as much as I do. Your Gama Gama said often when mommy was a little girl that your sibling are your best friends. She was often yelling it at us, so perhaps your a little like her. But I think she was right.
You have an infectious smile and laughter. I love how you do something silly or crazy and then look up at me and ask "are you happy now mommy?". You have no idea how much joy you bring to our family. I feel so inept at times. That the challenge of being your mommy is too great. Nothing brings your flaws out like parenting. When you have kids you will understand. But for now know that as you grow I am growing also.
I have a thousand things I could say. But I will end with this: I love you daughter. Happy Birthday.