My daughter turned 24 this week.  How is that possible!   I think about her everyday.  Sometimes I think about how much I love her, how I love who she is.  I pray for her and her husband throughout the day.  But on the day of her birth, I mostly thought about her being born - the real physical part of her being born straight out of the birth canal and into life.  Names are funny.  When I was pregnant with her, we had a mutt of a dog gotten from the humane shelter which we named Claire.  I have often scratched my head on why I chose to use a name I loved on a dog, and a sub par dog at that.  Shifting through baby name books while pregnant I kept coming back to the name Claire for a girl.  And yet, how could I possibly name my daughter Claire if my dog was also named Claire.  I envisioned a family Christmas photo with our new daughter and dog - in italic font would be the names Claire and Claire.  It just wouldn't work.   It's hard to name something that you don't know anything really about.  I mean, you haven't observed them visually, watched their behavior, found some physical trait that reminds you of something.  Naming a newborn is like boarding a bus not knowing where it is going but hoping it will take you where you want to go.  Aubrey was a great name too.  I mean who doesn't like the group Bread and their song, "And Aubrey Was Her Name"?  It was not a name heard frequently.  Yet, it was one of those names that would easily be heard and then interpreted as Audrey.  I knew an Audrey.  She had ruined the name Audrey for me which ultimately now was ruining Aubrey for me too.  Hannah was a Bible name.  She was the barren woman who while fervently praying in the temple for God to give her a child, was mistakenly accused of being drunk.  God did hear her prayer and gave her Samuel.  I liked the connotation of Hannah - someone who knew what she wanted and wouldn't let go of it.  No one was naming their kids Hannah at that time.  Perfect.  And, it could be spelled forward and backward - a bi-dexterous name:)  Now you can know the name you are going to name your unborn child, but it seems strange to say it out loud for the very first time as they lay your child on your chest.  The name is just bigger than them at that moment.  Hannah was born on her due date.  I am convinced that I ushered it in by eating sardines and drinking mineral oil the night before (mineral oil is an old wives tale said to start labor - sardines, I just like!).  Even though she was born on her due date, they think the date was off and she was actually early.  She came after 4 hours of back labor and about 5 pushes.  That is a small sentence, but don't misunderstand, the pain was not small!  When she appeared, post birth canal, she was bright red, gooey, and covered in black hair - not just her head either.  She had what they deemed preemie hair on her body.  It startled me as I wondered did I give birth to a human or monkey!  She was a little thing at 6 pounds 8 ounces.  I said her name out loud as I held her.  It seemed empty, like she didn't quite fill it yet.  How would that name fit her?  Strange it was to hold this human life outside of the womb now with a name, a face and fine soft black hair that covered her body.  Would she need electrolysis at age 3 and would she be shaving her legs by 5?  She had no clue how to hold the bigness of her name right then.  I, had no idea exactly how to be a mother.  It would be a lifetime of her becoming Hannah and me, mothering without ever finding the owner's manual.  She delighted me at one minute old and continues to at 24.  Hannah, I salute who you are!  By the way, the monkey hair fell off within a few days - my Planet of The Apes scare was over:)     

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