Two days ago was Friday the 13th. Yesterday was Jonah’s 13th birthday. Only I don’t really get how that works in heaven. Having died at birth, he never even learned to breathe, much less eat cake. So I am not sure how he celebrated the first of his teen-age years. Here on earth one of us was rowing, one was mowing, one was living out of her car, two played basketball, and one was beating a pinata at a birthday party. I ate cake. Not angel food, but chocolate with chocolate chips. And it was delicious. So let me be the one to say, Happy Birthday Jonah. Wish you were here.
I am not a numbers person. I like words. But if I had to pick a number that seems to recur in my life it would have to be 13. I was born on November 13th and before I retired my uterus from active duty, it held 13 babies in various stages of development. So, 13 is the most likely candidate for my lucky number, although I have never considered myself to be particularly lucky.
In a few days I will be on a plane heading north to Hannah’s graduation from Georgetown. I am as proud as a parent can be and grateful for the good fortune of having Hannah in my life. Hannah can not only breathe but she exhales in Portuguese. She lived in Rio without getting robbed (and DC) and imparted some amount of wisdom to young girls in a favela and pre-teens in DC public schools. Her Brazilian skills also include wearing a micro-bikini, creative sarong-tying, and mixing up a mean caipirinha. Hannah is good at eating cake and mastered the free daily flavor at Georgetown Cupcake. She won an award for her excellent shelving ability in the science reference library and can play a pretty good game of flip cup. She learned to row and to run and to understand Physics while keeping her sense of humor and leading her team as co-captain. And even though her family abandoned her by moving thousands of miles away, she found her way.
Hannah attended the inauguration of our nation’s first black president and slept on the mall under the stony watch of Lincoln to hold a spot for the preceding concert. She never used the computer lock I insisted on buying her freshman year which she insisted she did not need, and, indeed, did not. She lost one bike but managed to recover another. Perhaps she should have used the computer lock for her bike. She also misplaced one highly coveted office chair but hung on to a fancy flat screen tv and my sister’s futon. She once fell asleep while standing in a Southwest boarding line and has slept through every alarm clock ever made. Because of this, she missed one flight to Maine and was late for more than one final. But when her boat capsized during spring training, she successfully swam to safety.
Hannah of the Georgetown class of 2011: Wear sunscreen. In your potential future as a dermatologist, the wisdom of those two words will become increasingly clear. Congratulations on your many achievements as well as mastering the fine art of DC public transportation. Thank you for staying safe for four years and for making it through. Thank you for being such a great leader—to your team, your friends, and your siblings. And for being such a great daughter for your parents.
Mommy loves you.