Dear Hannah, On Your 10th Birthday…
How has it been a full ten years since we took you home from the hospital? So much has changed in that time and it’s unbelievable to me that a young teenager-in-training is in our lives where there used to be a little newborn with a ridiculously thick head of hair.
Anyway, it’s definitely been a crazy couple of years with the COVID-19 pandemic (although who knows what they are calling it by the time you read this). For a kid to live through this I can’t imagine what it has been like. Almost two years ago in early 2020, all of this coronavirus hit, and you all had to stay at home, switching to remote schooling, wearing a mask at all times and being deprived of the simple things that makes being a kid so much fun. Given all the unknowns and how dangerous it was, it was the right call then, but now at the end of 2021 even with vaccines, testing and social distancing, new versions and variations of COVID have made it so getting back to normal has been marked with a frustrating cycle of false starts. And in that time all of the adults have completely lost their minds, letting you kids down further.
I apologize for the digression so early in a note that is meant to be about you, but I think it’s important to paint how difficult this has been on you all growing up, and yet to also let you know how resilient and brave all of you kids have been in managing the uncertainty, the change in lifestyle and the dysfunction of us adults. Selfishly for me, one very positive thing to come out of this is that over the past few years (other than the odd monthly business trip) I have gotten the chance to work from home and be with you, Sophie and Mommy all the time. To be able to walk you to the bus, be there when you get home from school and eat dinner as a family without fail is something that has made me happier than anything else in this world. One other thing I get to do every night is lay with you in bed until you fall asleep, which is my very favorite 30 minutes (although sometimes it takes an hour) of the day. As you keep getting older by the second, I know the day is not too far off where it will not be cool to have your dad tuck you in, so I particularly cherish these moments while it lasts.
On the school front, you have definitely been working very hard to manage your ADHD (which you definitely got from me) and I know that is a struggle. I hope that someday you will come to experience it as the blessing and realize that what you get in return are some incredible gifts as well. This year more than ever I have witnessed the trade-off of those gifts manifest in you. Because as much as you have hard time concentrating on math and reading, that is how much you love writing poetry, creating these incredible films (concepting, shooting and editing), painting and drawing, playing the piano by ear, and concocting new culinary inventions in the kitchen…even if you have irreparably destroyed the kitchen table. You really have this incredible glow inside of you that you bring to life in so many of these exciting ways which is beautiful to experience.
Okay what else?
So, this looks like this is the very last year you will be believing in Santa Claus, as most recently you called BS on the tooth fairy and it’s just a matter of time before that whole deck of cards comes crashing down. I would say that even at this point your head is there on the big red guy, but your heart is holding on one more year. I also know that you on some level entertain this all because you would never ruin it for Sophie.
You’re still slightly obsessed with Phineas & Ferb, haven’t gown out of L.O.L. dolls and listen to Kid’s Bop. Yet there is this growing teenager who loves to shop for clothes, jam to Amazon Music, buy earrings and hair ties at the mall, carry a purse everywhere and lives for eating sushi (with the chopsticks). As I have said in earlier letters to you, watching you grow from an adorable peanut to a toddler to a school kid and now a pre-teen has been the greatest of joys.
In the coming year I am looking forward to watching my Hannah’s artist’s soul continue to blossom as this vibrantly beautiful blue-eyed, raven haired, free spirit enters the most terrifying next step for me (and maybe you)…middle school!
Anyway, I know you will crush it and as I tell you every night in between ‘I love yous,’ no matter what happens and whatever you do, I am ALWAYS on your side and here for you.
Happy birthday Hannah Pie…Mommy and I love you and Sophie more than anything in this world!