As of Wednesday, there is an eleven year old girl living under our roof.
Eleven looks different on different kids. That is very evident when you gaze around a grade five classroom in any school.
On Hannah, eleven looks like this...
Glasses perched on the end of her nose
Book in one hand
Ballet shoes in the other
Facts and figures - obscure parcels of information stored in her brain
Wheels always turning
Tension rising from what she wants to do and what she thinks she can do
Laughs that come quickly and loudly when she is surrounded with safety
She is a remarkable girl.
It is a strange experience, as a mother, to watch your daughter walking the same path you walked once. As emotions ebb and flow you remember the voyage you were once on as though it were yesterday. Sometimes, when the tears come, you are fearful of the days ahead. You know there will be lots of tears to come. You pray those tears and the angst that accompanies them are inter-mingled with sufficient belly laughs and satisfied smiles to smooth out the rough patches. It's hard to be a girl. This you know. But this girl you've been given is indeed, remarkable.
Eleven was celebrated in our house. It just so happened that Hannah's actual birth date fell on the same night that her school was having an evening "Jive Night" for all the school families. Hannah could not have been happier with that coincidence.
After a quick supper, off we went to the gym to jive the night away. Mr. Tesan, a retired Confederation Park teacher and beloved substitute, volunteered his time to walk us through some steps.
After a few demonstrations, we all got to give it a try.
Having a five year old partner can put you in a challenging position! I was thrilled to see that my healing elbow was able to withstand all of the jive moves!
Hannah and Mike were the best Penner Pair by a long shot. They even came up with a full routine by the end of the evening.
When it came time to pull your partner through your legs, Mike (for some reason) chose Sasha over me. They really had this move down!
At the end of the night, the mom who organized the night asked me if it would be OK to announce Hannah's birthday and sing for her. I said, "If you asked Hannah, she'd say NO - but you're asking me, and I think it would be great!" It was a great moment when the school community joined their voices to celebrate Hannah that night. She liked it too.
As we were leaving the gym, Hannah threw her arms around Mike's neck and lamented about HOW MUCH FUN that was. It was the perfect way to spend her birthday evening.
Once at home, it was time for some cupcakes and presents.
On Saturday, we continued to celebrate the birthday girl by inviting a few friends from school over for a little party. Sadly, Hannah's best friend Wesley wasn't able to make it. Her friends Miranda and Emilia were able to come and we enjoyed getting to know them better. These three girls have been very special to Hannah. On the very first day of school they invited her to join them at recess and that paved the way for Hannah to feel at home and accepted at her new school. We're all thankful for that extension of friendship.
First if was crafting time. Frame painting and embellishing.
After the craft, we had supper. Mike barbequed burgers which were accompanied by chips, veggies, and washed down with root beer. Hannah's greatest edible pleasures in life are ketchup chips, root beer and chocolate. She has very refined tastes.
Time for some presents, some pictures, and a rousing game of "Apples to Apples".
We ended the evening with a "Make your own Brownie Sundae" dessert. I know you all must think that we think we're living in heaven here in B.C.... you'll be glad to know it was confirmed to us as the girls were making their desserts when Hannah's friend Miranda said, "this place is like paradise".
Last Saturday, when we were wandering the shops and the market at Granville Island, I spotted this image in a window and had to rush in to get it for Hannah's birthday. It was as though the artist had created it with her in mind...
...a stack of books
...the long brown hair
...and the little birdie perched on her shoulder.
A picture of our Hannah.
There is much to celebrate in who she is and who she is becoming.