Happy birthday to our beautiful little girl, who turns four today! We are so thankful for the four years we’ve had with Hana Kate. She has filled our home with joy during many dark days, and brought us to a deeper realization of how much we need God’s grace and mercy to love, nurture, and disciple her. Today marks a day when we’re reminded that the years really are short. Another four years will fly by, and she’ll be eight, then twelve, then sixteen, then…
Four fun facts about Hana Kate:
1. She loves to learn. Yet she sometimes gets frustrated if she doesn’t get it exactly right or if it takes to much work or time to get results. We’re working with her to stick to doing hard things, but also not to give her too many things that would dampen her love for learning. She loves doing “school,” and especially crafts. Especially crafts that involve painting and glue. For now, though, we’re enjoying these years when the best learning comes by playing.
2. She loves to play. Hana Kate has a vivid imagination and this it is put to use even more frequently now that she and Eden can imagine worlds, travels, and “pretend” friends together. They are each others’ best and closest friends, and I hope their friendship will continue to deepen and grow through the years. Hana Kate is (mostly) patient and gentle with Eden, and Eden is good at providing the constant interaction Hana Kate desires. They love to dress up together, make pretend meals together, and…eh, talk about potties together. 🙂 She also loves to play outside, and that is where she can best entertain herself for long periods of time: looking for onion grass, carrying mulch, picking weeds, or planning her garden.
3. Hana Kate loves her Daddy very much. Not every little girl is privileged to have a Daddy who works at home and who can eat lunch with their family most days. She doesn’t like it when Daddy has to leave the house without her (though she’s dealing with this better these days) or if he has to miss eating lunch with us. And sometimes if she’s having a rough day, curling up on his lap while he works is the only thing that seems to make her problems and frustrations dissolve.
4. Hana Kate loves to help, and helping makes her very happy. Give her a new chore or challenge, and she’ll perk right up, start speaking in very proper sentences, and her manners will just flow out (in such a way that is quite funny to observe). She especially loves to help in the kitchen or do work outside. I am amazed at how truly helpful she can be, and how helpful being able to help is to her. (I really need to do a better job of anticipating her requests to help and thinking ahead of ways that she can help me do various tasks.)
Oops…maybe I’ll add five, even though she’s only four:
5. Traditions and “special occasions” are very special to Hana Kate. Observing and celebrating Advent was one of the highlights of her year, but she gets excited at any opportunity to celebrate a holiday or special occasion. She will often remember vivid, exact details of how we did something and will recount them to us months later. We are learning this is a special way for us to love and nurture the unique person God has made in her. This is a new realm for me, but sometimes making something special takes just ten minutes more than it might otherwise (And other times, it, well…might take hours. :)).
With each year’s milestone we’ve reached, I’m reminded that there are parents who aren’t able to celebrate that their children have lived that far, and others who have only prayed and grieved to become parents. With each year we’ve been able to celebrate another birthday, I often think, “even if something tragic happens from here to change our lives forever, nothing can take away the three years of wonderful memories we’ve shared together.” Now we have four. Every year that we’ve had with her is a gift, and I hope it’s one we’ll never stop celebrating.
Happy Birthday to Hana Kate!