today is Hannah's birthday!!! she is 17 now. I can't even believe it.
she is a wonderful kid. so funny and smart and silly and responsible and talented and creative. I just love her so much and am so proud of her. she is the most original person I have ever met and she always stands by her convictions, even if it gets her in trouble :)
I had such an easy time being pregnant with Hannah. and an easy labor and delivery. this time I knew the routine and that made it go a lot smoother. I didn't go to the hospital until the last minute and we were only there about an hour before she was born. she came in the middle of the night and the nurse put her in my arms about ten minutes after she arrived. it was so different from when Stephen was born. I didn't get to hold him until he was a few days old because he was so sick.
I could not get enough of her though. she was so adorable, had a head full of dark hair, long, slender fingers and the tiniest face I had ever seen. two hours after the delivery, I was in the nursery, asking them to put her in my room, where she stayed until we left. we were out of the hospital in two days and she was an incredibly easy-going baby.
Stephen adored her, he couldn't get enough of her either. I would always find him standing beside her bassinette when she was sleeping, just watching her with his little hands behind his back. they were always so close. it was sweet the way he would watch out for her and she followed him around whenever she could.
she was such a smart little kid. she would come up with the funniest things. whenever she did something wrong and I asked if it was her, she would always say "no, the wind did it." and once when I caught her playing somewhere she shouldn't have been, her response was "it wasn't me. it was a little girl that looked just like me!"
she was shy around strangers and didn't like to talk to anyone besides her immediate family. when she was three, she made her right hand into Mr. Hand, who would do all her talking for her. I have a couple of great pictures of Mr. Hand and Hannah, I should have scanned one for this post because it was so freakin' cute.
she did well in school and had quite a few friends. her brother was always her best friend though and the two of them were practically inseparable. it was hard for her when Stephen went to middle school but she adjusted and did just fine. in fifth grade, she was put into the gifted students class, which was really cool. they met once or twice a week instead of going to regular classes and she seemed to enjoy it. once she got to middle school though, it wasn't really her thing. so she quit going and just took more advanced classes.
high school started out a little rough. Stephen was having a lot of trouble going to school and his grades were awful. we had such a hard time with him and it somehow seemed to affect Hannah too. her grades dropped and I couldn't find a way to motivate her to improve. she would spend all her time at home in her room and would stay up all night sometimes. I would notice cuts and other marks on her arms and knew from my experiences that she was cutting herself.
no matter what I did, she just couldn't seem to get over whatever she was dealing with. she wouldn't talk to me about it, but I know that she was emailing and calling a younger cousin of mine that was closer to her in age. my cousin got her to open up and explain what was wrong. when she started to get in over her head, she told my aunt what was going on. by that time, we had taken Hannah to see a social worker who advised us to see our family doctor. she was prescribed Prozac for a chemical imbalance that was causing her to feel depressed.
she did seem to improve on the pills but said that she didn't like the way they made her feel numb. she also didn't ever connect with any of the psychologist we took her to, so eventually she stopped going and stopped taking her pills. but I think that she was starting to feel better about things in general and I noticed that there weren't as many marks on her arm. we arranged for her to go visit my cousin for a month and I think that helped a lot too, having someone to talk to who understood her and accepted her and loved her just for being herself.
shortly after she got home and pretty much all of a sudden, her grades started to improve and her attitude and outlook were 100% better. I'm still not sure how or why it happened. it probably wasn't from me constantly keeping an eye on her whenever possible or all the positive reinforcement we gave her about what a wonderful person she is or the attention we gave her whenever she would let us. I think she just grew up a little and realized that whatever was bothering her wasn't worth hurting herself over.
and now she's back to being the wonderful kid that she used to be. I am enjoying time with her more than ever. she's so funny and silly and clever and smarter than anyone I know. she's a talented artist and an incredible musician. she plays drums and guitar and bass and keyboards. yesterday Casey said that she could be a band all by herself :) she's helpful around the house, she takes care of her sister and we can trust her to do the right thing when she's out with her friends. she's turning into a healthy, responsible adult and that's all any parent could want. I'm so incredibly proud to know her and even more proud to be her mom.