Hannah – 2010 graduate of Olathe South High School

There is something very lovely about our relationship, Hannah and I. But it hasn’t always been that way…

I think it’s pretty typical; but when you’re going through it, it feels as if no other person in the world has as frustrating a situation as you are in at the moment.

{Mother-Daughter relationships…}

I have always seen adult mother-daughters that are close and healthy. I look at them with a bit of amazement. First of all, I didn’t have that kind of close relationship with my mother. And for many years, it was looking as if Hannah and I were not going to be any different.

I felt caught in the middle of a very strange vortex…
My mother was a wonderful person, but would not be described as ‘warm and fuzzy’.
I felt there were very strong expectations I was held to – expectations to be something I was not naturally cut out to do.
And yet I passed along those same expectations to my own daughter.

Hannah’s ensuing junior high years were filled with arguments and at times, indifference. Neither one of us understanding the other; yet trying to force the other to be something (someone) that they didn’t know how to be – causing another round of frustration and arguing.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Then Larry and I separated and eventually divorced.
He worked in Kansas.
Hannah went to school in Kansas and didn’t want to leave.
Baird went to college in Missouri.
I lived in Missouri.

And thus the splitting of children and homes: Hannah and Larry moved in together in Olathe and Baird and I lived together downtown.

And for us, it was the point that both Hannah and I will always point back to and say, “THAT was the best thing that could have ever happened to us.”

I would never suggest it for anyone else; it was a controversial subject for a lot of people. I remember a friend of mine saying to me one time, “But what about Hannah?! A girl needs her mother.” And I agree. But it was ONLY in us living separately, that Hannah was able to get a Mother, and not a Job Foreman. Not an Expectation Keeper.

I was able to see my daughter for who she really was.
And she was able to communicate better with me when we were together.

She has been with me through some very difficult situations since that time – burning her deeply into my heart. No one can be as happy for me today, like Hannah can. She knows; she’s been there from the beginning. And through it all.

I-35 is littered with heads-thrown-back, can’t-breathe-cause-I’m-laughing-so-hard, hands-waving-in-the-air hysterics that have been a consistent part of the last 3 years of high school. Back and forth we’ve driven, between Missouri and Kansas (a 45 minute drive), talking deeply and laughing uproariously. We don’t happen to run into each other in the living room in the evenings when neither one of us has anything scheduled. When we are together, it is planned and purposeful.

And while I am sure that no one will understand like Hannah does, I feel so incredibly blessed that we have lived out her high school years under separate roofs. I know it is the avenue necessary to make us as close as we are today.

I was able to find this deeply compassionate
Utterly beautiful
Depth of wisdom
Authentically funny
Spiritually grounded
Highly fashionable
Awe inspiring
Loyal
Sweet
Direct
Independent
Gutsy
Daring
Brave soul.
Imagine my surprise when one day I realized she was my daughter. This adult woman who still possessed that same crooked smile she revealed to us at an extremely young age.

I feel like the luckiest mother alive.

For nine months all those sonograms said she’d be a boy…
After eighteen years I have found out, she is my friend.

CONGRATULATIONS, Hannah!!!
You continue to make us all proud.
Every. Single. Day.

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