We've always called her "Birdie" - since before she emerged and was still nestled in the womb.
We don't really know where the name came from or why it became hers, but she owns it now.
It fits her - our Hannah Elizabeth - who turns twelve years old today.
Twelve is such a unique age.
Not still a child, but not yet a teenager.
It's as though she has her right foot in one world and her left foot in another.
Observation and experience tell me it's not easy to straddle that line of "in-between".
Often it's clear to me that she doesn't know which song to sing - the old or the new.
But here's the thing - she keeps singing anyway.
That voice finds itself....
.... in the way she writes stories - full of rich characters and poetic description.
.... in the way she is finding her sense of personal style and taste.
.... in the way she moves her tall, angular body to tell a tale in contemporary dance.
.... in the way she asks questions and reads to find answers or satisfy a longing from somewhere inside.
I am learning to recognize her voice.
It sounds different than it used to, and sometimes I have to listen more deliberately to make it out.
But that tone - that one that she was created to produce - rings underneath the new and the experimental tune.
She is learning to recognize it too -
to hear her voice and know when to sing loudly or when to drop off to find the notes that fit her best.
Today she is twelve, and I'm grateful our Birdie's voice sings.