Hannah is our first daughter. She emerged into the world on Independence Day and has embodied that independence ever since.
Hannah was that child that required me to grow up, strong and firm. A helper and advocate at heart, steely on the exterior and surprisingly affected and tender on the interior.
The nine endless months before she was born, I spent every waking moment, and some sleeping ones, dreaming of what he would look like. Yes, he. (All the old wives’ tales were wrong.)
Then she was born.
Though I had to switch names, she was Hannah, not Caleb, and she was the most beautiful baby ever born. (Everyone knew it too…or so I assumed everyone believed). I walked through the shopping mall expecting to be stopped by random admirers of the most perfect baby on earth.
I had not just imagined what she would look like, I’d imagined who she was: quiet and demure, yet still able to unravel the room with her sparkle. And she always did what I asked.
My baby, the dream come true.
The first night in the hospital, she lay snuggly wrapped in her bassinette. My husband was asleep near me as he was exhausted from 36 hours medical call.
My baby slept like a baby.
I lay in bed wide-eyed, gazing at baby perfection just a foot away. I wanted to lift her to my arms, wake her and stare into those watery blues.
But she slept and slept and slept.
Yet, after waking from that first night slumber, she didn’t sleep again for almost a year.
She’s taught me parenting.
- I was flummoxed by her incessant colicky fussing for the first three months.
- I was confounded with her first toddler temper tantrum in Zellers.
- I crossed my eyes attempting to teach her to read when she was five.
- I marveled that she commanded attention on the playground from her peers, leading them in her games.
Every step of the way, she’s been my introduction to a new stage of parenting.
She’s been my introduction into parenting, my experimental child.
There are a thousand ways to parent and I think I’ve tried them all.
When she overheard me say she was the experimental child, she believed I had intended to experiment on her.
No, no, I clarified: I assumed my parenting approach was correct every time, and then I discovered it wasn’t. I’d try a different approach, and it wasn’t quite right again.
She has an independent spirit.
She was three years old when she approached cashiers and purchased things independently.
She assumed she was part of adult conversations since she was a pre-teen.
She took herself on a five-month backpacking tour of Mexico, applied to universities independently, and got herself into a university clear across the country.
She has chutzpah.
There isn’t anything she’s ever wanted that she didn’t pursue and she assumed she’d be welcomed to do it all.
She assumed all she had to do was ask.
She is empathic.
Despite a penchant for being a shoot-from-the-hip person, which doesn’t always strike one as empathic straight away, this kid can listen, make you feel heard, and give wise insight.
She is fun.
This kid can bring a fun energy to everything she does. Her clever wit, her word-savvy, and her ability to be present make everything we do together makes so many memories.
This is Hannah.
Are you considering high school for your homeschooler?
- A Homeschool Teenager’s Perspective: How to Homeschool High School
- Entering Homeschool High School
- Homeschool High School: Grade 8 & 9, the Churning
- Having a High School Homeschooler at Home
- High School Options & Post-Secondary School
- How to Include Your Children & Their Interests in your Homeschool