Hannah, today you are one year old and I find myself looking at you with awe, startled by all you have become in one short year. Even with two older siblings who are more than willing to pave the way for you, you are full of your own discoveries. Watching you learn to wave, shake your head, pull yourself up to standing is remarkable all over again. It doesn't matter that we've watched two others before you perfect these tricks, we're just as excited for you to learn each new thing as well.
Up until now you have been our quiet one. When you were just a few months old we looked at you with your thumb in your mouth and thought, she will be the relaxed one, and you have been. You are the one who still enjoys cuddling, being carried and held. You were the first to sleep through the night, the last to sit up, the last to roll over, and, my dear, you still have not mastered hands and knees crawling (although you do sport a pretty mean army crawl.) At one year old you have just one little tooth, but a beautiful, contagious grin that never ceases to make me smile.
Now however, I'm sensing a slight ripple of change in your quiet ways. You've learned to screech a high-pitched, fire alarm screech that stops us from whatever we're doing and turns our attention directly to you. It usually means you're hungry. Or thirsty. Or tired, or bored, or uncomfortable, or thrilled. Yes, it's your favored means of communication right now and you love to see the looks on our faces when you try it out in church. You pull yourself around at amazing speeds, emptying out cupboards and baskets and drawers in record time. You pull yourself up on the couches and chairs but have not yet tackled anything that resembles walking.
You adore your siblings and I love to watch you playing alongside of them- they make you giggle better than I ever can, they are so eager to wrap you in hugs, and when I see you watching them longingly from the bottom of the stairs as they run up to play I think don't worry, soon it will be you. So I'm going to kiss your round, soft baby cheeks, and cuddle you while you still enjoy it because soon enough, in another moment or two, that will be you.
And someday, long before I'm ready, you will be running out the door, calling good-bye, and I'll be happy for what you've become. But if you look back and you see tears in my eyes, understand that while I love watching you grow, part of me will be remembering that sweet little one year old girl with the whispy slash of hair and the pretty little grin.
Happy Birthday, Hannah.