Yesterday was my Hannah's birthday.
She turned eight years old.
That's a pretty big deal around here.
To celebrate her special day, I wanted to do something different. I wanted her to feel loved and appreciated and doted on and special from morning til night. I wanted her to know how much I love her, how proud I am of her, how much I love the sweet little thing she is turning into. I looked at different party ideas, contemplated a few different scenarios but nothing felt right until I settled on giving Hannah the thing she would love the most.
A day of surprises.
It started a few months ago when her adoring Daddy suggested we do the thing she would love the most. The thing that she has been asking us for for two years running. The thing I thought would never hear the end of. And I built her day around that.
At 2:45, we loaded up in the car and headed out. She had no idea where we were going and when we pulled into our first stop, a huge smile spread across her face.
The Nail Store, as Hannah calls it. A fresh manicure with sparkly purple polish and a flower on each hand. A day about Hannah wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Nail Store so we started off beautifully. She thought our day was done with this one stop but I assured her I had much more in store for her.
We left The Nail Store and headed to the mall, where I told her she got to pick out a new birthday outfit. She gave me a tentative smile and said that would be fun but she was already wearing a new birthday outfit and still had hopes that she would get what she wanted most. As we made our way through the throngs of people, I told her there was something better than a new outfit. Her wide eyes looked up at me and I finally told her....
You're getting your ears pierced!
My Hannah has wanted her ears pierced FOR.EVER. She has asked and begged and pleaded her case to both Brad and I for ages and while I was ready and willing, Daddy was hesitant. He originally told her she could at 16, then weakened to 14 and finally caved at 12 where he has remained firm. But a few months back when discussing Hannah's birthday, he said "you know, this is what she wants more than anything and it will mean so much more to her than some silly present."
He was right.
She was OVERJOYED. She couldn't believe it was finally going to happen and said "I can't wait to show Megan and Nadia!" her two BFFs who've had their ears pierced for quite some time. She was brave and strong and didn't make a sound. She thanked me again and again and was ready to go home and show everyone.
But we weren't done yet.
After the mall, we headed to her favorite restaurant, Red Robin, where Megan and Nadia and their mothers were waiting to surprise us. She couldn't believe they were there for her and we had a fabulous dinner with some wonderful friends. I am so touched that her friends (and mine!) would be so willing to make her day special. It was perfect.
For our final surprise, we all headed out to The Country Mercantile to hear the beautiful talents of Lauren Fox and Mindy Gledhill. The setting was perfect, the music amazing and the joy in my daughter's face unforgettable. As we swayed to the music, Hannah looked up at me and said "I'm so happy your birthday isn't until April because that gives me lots of time to plan a special day for you, like you did for me. Thank you Mama."
When the concert was over, I purchased Mindy's CDs for Hannah and we waited our turn for a gracious Mindy to sign. She was sweet and genuine, thoughtful and kind and I was touched by how sincere she was, how talented and spirited and lovely. It was wonderful.
After the concert, we made one final stop at the local yogurt shop where the girls built themselves bit bowls of yum. The mothers talked, the girls twirled and laughed and thanked us repeatedly. It was better than I had imagined.
And then yesterday, on Hannah's actual birthday we recapped the weekend together. She asked me if I knew what her favorite part was as she pulled her hair back behind her ears.
"Getting your ears pierced?" I assumed.
"Nope. My favorite part was that I got to do it all with you."
I cried, she hugged me tight and I felt an overwhelming love for my eight-year-old. I know this is going to be her best year yet.
Happy Birthday Sweet Hannah. I love you.