Hannah was born on this day nineteen years ago in Knox County, Ohio at home. I brewed a pot of coffee for the midwife, sat down at the table and filled out her birth certificate by hand.
Here is a birthday letter I wrote Hannah a couple years ago:
December 19, 2003
This is a special day. You have now been on this planet for fourteen years. You have just gotten a good start. I hope you feel loved today because you are, more than you know. I have been up early and thinking about you today. I am praying this will be a very special and memorable day for you.
When you were born we lived in Ohio, in a little village called Brandon. Actually the church we pastored was in Brandon and we lived in a house a little north of the village. That is where you were born. You were the first child who was born at home. After you were born at home Dan and Wes were born at home, too. Dan out on Rutledge Road, which is probably the first place you remember. Wes was born on Apple Valley Drive north of Mt. Vernon. The county you were born in is Knox County. It is a beautiful, mildly hilly county in mid-Ohio.
A few months before you were born we went to visit the mid-wife one day. She lived up north of us about an hour in a town called Ashland, Ohio. We had a kitten and the kitten crawled up on top of the tail pipe and rode all the way to Ashland with us. We carried her back inside the car so she would have a more comfortable ride. You were born in 1989 – December 19, 1989 at 7:30 in the morning. I wrote out your birth certificate by hand at the kitchen table. I brewed some coffee for the mid-wife and we sat down and wrote out the birth certificate.
You were actually born on the floor beside bed. Your mom got out of bed to get in a position that was more comfortable. I remember when we left that house, after my Dad and I had loaded the last of our things into the truck, the last thing I did was I went back into the house and I knelt down on that spot and I thanked the Lord for bringing you into our lives.
That year I told your mom all I wanted for Christmas was to have my little girl to hold beside the tree on Christmas night. On Christmas night I sat in the room beside the tree and watched your little face while you slept in my arms. There were hundreds of tiny colored lights shining on your face. Snow had come and it was covering the big pine just outside the window. That year I remember watching a beautiful red bird hopping around its snow blanketed branches.
To brighten your day and make it special I have been thinking about some things I love about you. There are so many and I keep discovering more but here are ten that pop into my mind whenever I think of you:
TEN THINGS I LIKE ABOUT YOU:
ïƒ You love Jesus and you want to follow Him, like I do
ïƒ You are a lot of fun to be with – You’re good company
ïƒ You are always willing to forgive
ïƒ You keep a tender heart toward God and others when you make mistakes
ïƒ You are always eager to try new things
ïƒ You are bright and quick to pick up on things
ïƒ You have leadership qualities but you have the heart of a servant, you’re willing to help
ïƒ You are still my little girl but you are mature for your age
ïƒ You are very, very beautiful like your Mom and sisters
ïƒ You are innocent and pure in heart
ïƒ You have a tender heart toward others
Since you were little you have always loved jumping into the water and you have always been the last one out. When others held back you jumped right in. That is the same approach you have taken to new jobs, new responsibilities and new experiences. That is a neat quality. It makes you really fun to be around.
I want you to know that I do still have lots of plans for things we can do together. I have places that we can go and things that we can do. Even though you are a full-grown woman, you are still my little girl and I intend to enjoy you as long as I can. Of course, I know there will come a time when someone will come along and want to make you their wife. I will be here for that, too, helping you through that time and making sure that it is the happiest and holiest experience for you. When I do walk you down the aisle some day and you begin the rest of your life in the house of another man as a wife, I hope you will know how much I love you and cherish you. I hope when you turn to kiss me your heart will be bursting with happy memories of a Dad who really did love you and cherish you with all of his heart.
I love you so much Hannah. Thanks for bringing such joy and sweetness into our lives. You can be so full of life and fun, but you have a beautiful quiet way about you, too. You are like you mother in some neat ways including that fact that you were blessed with her beautiful dark features.
All your life people are going to want to be around you because you are a beautiful person and because you are fun to be around and easy to talk too. I know that you will influence many for Christ.
You have always been willing and eager to be involved in what the family was doing. Growing up with two older sisters you have always been a little more mature and looked more mature than your age. That has probably been good for you. Now you have outgrown both of them. You are going to have more years to influence your sister Hope and Dan and Wes than Kyle, Holly, Chuck and Heidi. They will look to you for things as an older sister. I know they will see Jesus in you.
You are a younger sister, too, so that is a unique role. You will have the opportunity to watch a lot of neat things happened in each of your older siblings lives. You will be able to learn from them and you will be able to benefit from their successes and failures.
Let’s plan to get closer and closer and never to let anything come between us. Let’s plan to spend time together doing some things we enjoy and making some memories. I want to help you have a very happy life and I want you to experience the joy of following Jesus with all your heart all your life, wherever He leads you.