I walk into the daycare and as soon as you see me you would run into my arms. We hug and then you go grab your bag, hug your friends and off to home we go. Together, you and me.
Now, you drive yourself to and from school. Some days Grace is with you. Other days it’s just you. And there are some days reserved for friends.
We lug our bags out of the car and into the house. You drop your coat on the avocado kitchen floor and head to the playroom. The Little People are waiting. Your dolls, stuffed animals, and Elmo are waiting. I hear nothing. I don’t worry. I know what I will find when I go to sneak a peak of you at play. I will see you sitting on the floor, knees bent backwards, tush between your heels. You will be moving Little People up and down and around. You will be whispering their words. You will have arranged your stuffed animals, and dolls, and always Elmo, in a circle. You will be leading circle time. I leave you at play. This is your down time.
Now you lug your backpack and carry your phone and lunchbox into the house. I take a sneak peak of you when I get home. You are nuzzled in the couch, soaking up another episode of CSI. You pause for a moment to say “Hi!” I leave you there. This is your down time.
We sit around the table. It’s a breakfast for dinner kinda night. “Tan-tans!” you squeal as I put a plate of pancakes in front of you.
Now we sit around the table, at least a few nights a week. You have opinions about the meals, always thankful, but when Ranch Chicken is on the menu too frequently, you let me know. Some nights, with your busy teenage life, you grab food out.
We chase you up the stairs. Your petite hands slap the hard wood. You giggle. We run the water for the bath. “Bat, bat!” you exclaim as you haphazardly undress, your shirt getting stuck on your head. Playing and washing, Washing and playing. You love the water. When it is time to get out, I sing our poem, you don’t mind my singing, yet.
After a bath, I try try try, to wipe myself till I’m dry dry
Hands to wipe fingers and toes two wet legs and a shiny nose
Just think how much less time I’d take if I were a dog and could shake shake shake.
Now your showers are long and frequent. You love to take one to warm up. After the shower, you wear the towel on your head, all cozy in your comfy clothes. You settle in with homework or Netflix.
You’ve always been independent, then and now. You’ve always reached for what wanted, then and now. You’ve always brought love to our family, then and now. You’ve always done things your way, then and now. You’ve always been you, stay you, because I love you.
Happy 18th Birthday, Hannah.