Tuesday, January 5, 2021


Today, Hannah Ruth, you are turning seventeen.

So much of this past year wasn't what we wanted it to be, and it hurts a bit to re-read last year's letter and all the promise it held. There were many hard lessons this year, most of which I could not have anticipated. It was the year you attended four funerals that you will never forget. It was the year your shows and Kerem summer were cancelled. A year of tremendous heartbreak, and coping with the unknown. So much change and adaptation. I hope years from now, you can look back and realize just how strong and resilient you were.

Because change and adapt is what you did. You made the absolute best you could out of remote learning, staying dedicated to your classes and activities. You were the lead in Sense and Sensibility and worked harder than you've ever worked in a show. You led high holiday services over Zoom in a seriously impressive fashion. You took your first college course and blew me away with your architectural designs. You're driving cars, but you're also driven, taking on SATs and thinking about college and what you want from your life.

Even with nowhere really to go, you've kept your cell phone charged all year long. You make your bed every day, and keep your bullet journal and to do lists done. Thank you for being my television buddy, for finally seeing what I see in the Real Housewives, and for loving Jagged Little Pill as much as I do. Your friendships have continued to deepen and expand as you all faced these challenging times together, learning to give each other more grace along the way. Your brother may be taller than you now, but there's no one he leans on more than you. And I'm glad you still find Shira as endlessly entertaining as I do.

So little seems foreseeable right now. But the coming year will still bring performances, will still bring college applications, will still bring new experiences. Hopefully, it will bring a return to in-person school and singing together. No matter what, I know you will put all of your best into it. Happy birthday, my sweet Hanniebelle. I'm so proud to be your mom.

(You can also see letters for ages seveneightnineteneleventwelvethirteenfourteen,  fifteen and sixteen.)

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