Monday, March 23, 2009


Dear Hannah,

Today you are one. One year of infant bliss. One year of chubby thighs and rosy cheeks. One year of milky burps and infectious laughter. One perfect year.

Let me tell you what it’s like being the mother of Hannah. I’ve struggled to keep up with you – not because you are a particularly difficult baby, but because every morning you open those curious little eyes, and you’re not the same person you were the night before. Always changing, always learning – like software updates, I just can’t keep up. Yesterday your favorite foods were sweet potatoes, pears and squash. Today you like strawberries, strawberries, and strawberries. Yesterday you could sit for hours in your swing, blowing bubbles and luring people to your side with your innocent, dimpled smile. Now you bring the smile to them; an in-your-face, look-at-me-or-so-help-me-I-will-tear-your-hair-out kind of gremlin grin that leaves people both amused and terrified – amused at how scrunchy your nose gets, and terrified that they might not meet your expectations.

Being your mother has made me take a better look at myself. When we found out you would be a girl, Daddy said “watch out, here comes a mini-Suzie.” It’s true, looking at you is like looking in the mirror. The same things that frustrate you frustrate me. We make the same faces, we blink innocently at your father when we’ve made the same messes, and we both demand lots of love, attention, and strawberries. We like to be heard, you and I, which means we’re often competing for the floor when we have someone’s attention. When I am having a particularly harrowing day with you, Hans just laughs and laughs and says, “I told you so.” Raising a copy of myself has tried my nerves to the point of frazzlement. I didn’t know I was so difficult!

Your big shiny eyes and irresistibly puffy cheeks have helped you achieve celebrity status among the Japanese. When we go out, I feel more like your entourage or manager than your mother.

“So cuuuuuuute! How old?”

“11 months.”

“Woooow! So cute! Can I touch her?”

“That’ll be 50,000 yen.”

Megumi, your Japanese grandmother, recently said “I want to take care of Hannah, but without you.” Gee. Since then you’ve made several visits to Megumi’s house, where you are no doubt wined and dined to your heart’s content. I’m blaming her for your gourmet taste of freshly squeezed apple juice.

I shower with you, eat with you, sleep with you and cry with you, all the while thinking how did I ever do this alone? You’re my best friend and sweetest sidekick. The thump thump thump of your deliberate crawl in my direction warms my heart to the core. One year flew by, as I’m sure the rest will. But for now, for today, I’m in love with the girl that you are. My perfect one-year-old Hannah. Happy birthday.



music credits: If I Could, by Jack Johnson
Gracie, by Ben Folds
Ladybug, by Terrible Twos


Samantha said...

So sweet, and happy birthday to Hannah. I imagine a non-Japanese baby in Japan would get lots of attention, which you as her mom must LOVE!
It sounds like it hasn't been difficult at all!! That always amazes me when I read moms' comments about their wee ones, and it sounds like none of it has been hard. But I'm sure now you'll comment saying it's been trying too...right? Right?
I hope you print these things and save them and give them to Hannah (your blogs, not my comments!)

Suzie said...

You're right, it hasn't all been easy. I think the most trying part has been raising her without the help of my family. I only JUST started taking her to Megumi's a couple weeks ago. Before that, I never left her with anyone but Hans or our friend Christian, and even then it wasn't longer than 2 or 3 hours. Leaving her with Megumi for 5 hours was hard, but good for me. Also, she hasn't been sleeping too well because she's catching up on all the teething (which she didn't start until 11 months!). So yeah, it's not all paradise, but I figure no one wants to hear that!

Lindsly Love said...

This is SUPER adorable. You are a great mom, I can tell just by this post and all the pictures that I've seen.

Samantha said...

Well, both parts are reality, to me, I guess.
That is a big deal to leave her with someone for 5 hours! How great is Megumi for doing that?! If I have ever left Zara with anyone for that long, it has only been a few times, with William, and my mom, maybe once each. I'm wimpy but you're right that is good for both of us, I should find opportunity to do that more often.

Anonymous said...

Suz, thats beautiful - I love how she has two faces - huge open mouth grin, and smooshy pug face - very cute - good music choices too - happy birthday hannah!

Aileena said...

That is a sweet letter. Hanah will really treasure that when she is older. I haven't watched the slide show yet, but I will later on and get back to you. You are dedicated to memory making-way to go!

Anonymous said...

Suz - where the crap are you? Its been two weeks since you updated your blog,and I can't get you on Skype or facebook!!!! I need to talk to you or Hans! Just getting the word out.

Aileena said...

I finally watched your video. Its so precious, as is your daughter. It must be so wonderful to be a mom. Congrats on your new house too!