Friday, December 11, 2009

Hannah Kathryn is 21

She will not read this until tomorrow.

It is, after all, her 21st birthday, a day she has been waiting for since the last big birthday she celebrated nearly a full year behind everyone else in her class--16.  But when she wakes up, bleary-eyed and glad for the rest of her life that she is the youngest, I want her to know how proud of her I am.

She had moved 6 times by the time she was 12.  Every classroom a bit like a lion's den for a sensitive and pretty little girl.  Each town was like a foreign country with a new language to learn and customs to adopt and I confess that there were days I thought my heart would shatter because it was so tough.  Of course so was she.

She wanted her training wheels off and her hair long and she could fight with the best of the Jedi.  She loves Kansas basketball and all little children and though they practically pay her in dimes, she has worked for 3 1/2 years at the Campus daycare center, supporting this childcare ministry with a second job at a sports bar.  She has a work ethic that would put a lumberjack to shame and she is smart smart smart, but will always laugh at herself.

She has four siblings who adore her and miss her terribly, but when she is in the house, the joint is jumpin'.  There were years, let me tell you of outstanding theatrical performances whose organization often depended heavily on her willingness to give the right person a shove at the proper moment.

The mother daughter dance can be the most complex one around.  I did not know this when I brought her home 21 years ago, this beautiful baby, bundled against the December cold.  I thought of Mary then, holding Jesus and wondering,"What if I do it all wrong?"

She used to say, "I wish I could rewind the world," and if there were such a device, I would have given it to her for her birthday because oh, there are some do-overs I would love to have.  Yet here she is, lovely and amazing, living proof that it is the grace of God and not perfect parenting that carries us.

Happy Birthday Hannah Kathryn.  When I started this entry it was still your birthday and now, just like that, it's tomorrow.  Kind of like the past 21 years--fast as the speed of light, you have walked through heartache and glory with kindness and grace.

Bless you daughter.  God give you joy.

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