Darling Daughter #1

I haven’t been doing as many blog posts lately. Life has been busy with painting cabinets, doing lots of drawing and trying other new things. But even while I’ve been otherwise occupied I have been thinking of you and noodling on what to share next.

Life is so very interesting that it’s entirely impossible to focus on just one thing. So we might chat about gardens, cooking, hospitality, family, frustrations, home decorating, faith, politics, leadership, community development and who knows what else. Frequently I find myself writing about whatever new thing it is that I am learning about.

But today, I thought we would talk about one of my favorite things, Darling Daughter #1. Today is her birthday. She is now 25!! This of course is utterly ridiculous because I’m not old enough to be the mother of a 25 year old.

I think it’s probably time that you get to know Hannah Grace Sternberg Bodenbach a little bit better. She’s someone worth knowing!

First of all you should know that her name doesn’t really include “Sternberg”. Sternberg is my maiden name and she has just adopted it as her own. She writes her initials as HGSB and she has even convinced a few people that Sternberg is actually one of her middle names. I guess I am publicly ratting her out here.

As the first child, we practiced most of our parenting skills on Hannah and despite all of our efforts to ruin her, by the grace of God she has turned out amazingly well.

As a little girl, I thought she was going to be the death of me. Her terrible 2’s started when she was about 18 months old and they lasted until she was 5. We have lots of stories about Hannah’s childhood.

She used to take the throw pillows off the couch and throw them into the front yard.

One time she and darling daughter #2, dumped an entire box of Nestle’s Quik on our white couch and when we caught them they were vigorously rubbing it in.

She used to sneak off at church (when she was about 2 mind you) and take off all of her clothes. This kid really hated wearing clothes.

Then there was the time when I was babysitting for 2 other little girls and while I was on the phone (in the days before cordless phones), she took her sister and these 2 little girls and they all climbed into the bathtub and rubbed vaseline into each other’s hair. Did you know vaseline doesn’t wash out? For days. And days. I guess I should at least be thankful that they didn’t do it on the white couch.

Even when she was very little it was clear that she was going to be a leader. Other kids would have followed her off of a cliff if she asked them too.

As a teenager she once told me that she had finally figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up…”the boss’s daughter”.

In one of my previous jobs we did lots of events. Hannah would usually function as my body guard and my personal assistant. She would carry around my cell phone and hunt me down if someone needed me. She would make sure that I got food to eat. Usually I was so busy working the event that I would miss dinner but she would have a plate of food ready for me when I finally got to sit down.

She has been my date for plenty of functions when my darling husband couldn’t go or didn’t want to go. She will go just about anywhere I ask her to and she is always up for an adventure.

She promises that she will take care of me when I am old.

Hannah is compassionate and kind. If you are injured, HGSB is your go to girl. She will take care of you and make sure you get whatever you need. She will hug you until all is right with the world again. She is easily, hands down, the world’s best hugger. If you are in the hospital, expect her to be there with you most of the time, whether you like it or not. In her role within the Army National Guard she is trained as a medic just because she wants to be able to take care of her battle buddies.

The ability and drive to take care of people is engrained deeply within her.

Hannah is loyal to a fault. This is a trait she gets from her dad. Hannah’s loyalty shows up in her people collecting. Once you have been collected and you are officially “one of her people”, she will do just about anything for you and she will work hard to encourage you and to make sure that you feel loved and valued. If Hannah loves you, she will love you fiercely. People are just naturally drawn to this girl. I mean who doesn’t want to be loved like that?

Even with her sisters. They may not get along 50% of the time but if you mess with the sisters, be warned, HGSB is going to be all up in your business.

She is my biggest cheerleader.

She is the first person that I truly loved more than myself.

She has changed the way the I look at the world.

She has the heart of a warrior. She will always defend the defenseless. It’s not something she even tries to do, it’s just a part of who she is at her very core.

I am beyond blessed that God chose me to be her mom. She makes me a better person. She inspires me. And in true daughter form, sometimes she drives me crazy.

And she rarely does what I tell her to do.

She is one of a kind. Beautiful inside and out. She can throw on some work clothes, chop wood and build you a fire, or she can put on a dress and some lipstick and knock your socks off. She’s likely to surprise you in many ways.

And she is all mine. My darling daughter. My soldier girl. My cheerleader. My favorite #1 darling daughter. But I might share her if you ask nicely.

I am blessed beyond measure and so thankful to be her mom.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HGSB! I love you to the moon and back. And I love you more! I hope this is the best, most wonderful year of your life!


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