My Hannah

February 19, 2013 by Ellen Stimson in Hannah

When she was little sometimes we would all take a nap together on cold Saturday afternoons.  She would hold our hands as she fell asleep and when she woke up she would still be holding them. It was just about the sweetest thing you ever saw.

She also woke up every single morning in full conversation.

“…and then ”

We called her Chatty Hannah. She said “Hi” to her pediatrician when she was just nine months old. And her vocabulary and conversation never stopped.

She loved tie-dye and paisley. Hats were good too. And rules. She never met one she didn’t like. Every family has a sheriff and Hannah was ours.

She kept us running on time.

Loving ideas she challenged ours early on. “Recycling is easy. It is the least we can do Mom. Really. The very least”

Hannah brought us new ideas and experiences from the very beginning. She became a lifelong vegetarian at five years old when she decided she would not eat her animal friends. When she was just about seven or eight I took her and her best friend to a Spice Girls concert. Some mothers had cotton in their ears. Not this one. I was the one lifting them up for a kiss from Baby Spice in the crush of pre-teens at the stage. A few years later she and I flew alone to Florida so she could swim with the dolphins, pet the stingrays and snorkel above some sharks. In a blink she was a Mt Holyoke grad with a good BA and  a menu full of choices. These days she is a city girl who lives in a sixth floor walk up on the upper east side of Manhattan with boyfriend Dan, bunny Lulu and her beloved Great Dane puppy Elsie.



She still has that long elegant line, dancer’s legs, and an infectious grin that advertises joy.

And now she is my twenty-four year old grown-up pal who gives calm sound advice and takes mine under consideration with the ease of one who is confident in what she thinks and believes.


How does the happen when the adults in the room are not getting any older?

I yearned for a little girl. She was much wished for and even more loved when she came. And now I know why. We speak to one another most days. Sometimes it’s just a quick update on the crazy lady at the dog park (her) or a diet report (me)

Someone I know calls these dolphin touches. Touch plays an important part in the lives of a pod of dolphins. There is a regular light swim by touch that lets the children know mom and dad are near. And that’s what our texts and calls are. A gentle reminder of mutual love and presence.

Always and no matter what.

Happy Birthday Hannah. I love you more and more and more.



  • Terry Matthews

    She’s a beauty. Liking our kids is always a bonus. You two sound lucky

  • molls

    Happy birthday to you too mom. These passages are a reminder aren’t they?

  • beesknees

    There are lots of families who would love to have adult kids who keep coming back. There is some trick to it. Now that would be a good book to write

  • Lynn Silence

    The last time I saw Hannah was the visit when I tried to teach you two to knit–which was also the time of my retirement as a knitting teacher. If you recall, HANNAH learned to knit a little!

  • drew

    My parents annoyed me when I was a young adult and now it is obvious to me that I annoy my children too. We do not enjoy spending time together. We try. We get together for holidays and occasional weekends. But we do not do this dolphin touch. I wish you would write more about this too.
    How do you share common interests without being judgemental about their jobs or living situations or ad infinitum?
    Or are you among the lucky few who approves of most of the decisons your kids make?

  • jessie

    Texting does work. They like texting don’t they? I am goign to resolve to do more of that.
    Happy birhtday you two

  • Abigail Mae Hudson

    What a lovely image. Dolphin touches. I enjoy those with my grands. They call me and tell me about a vacation they are planning and ask where James and I ate on the Seine. Or I call up and ask them how in hell this i-Pad is supposed to work.
    Dolphin touches. I may call them today in fact and tell them this is what we are doing

  • Massie Wright

    I love your family. I know it isn’t all easy but you somehow cross the geography of indignation and judgement and keep coming together. You give me hope that our teenagers will like us and one another one day.
    I do not enjoy my own parents and I worry I am passing that on to another generation. Like Drew I wish you would write more about how it actually comes together

  • mtngirl

    I remember when you had a run of bad luck with one or ore of your kids a couple of years back. You told us almost nothing but you expressed worry and fear. And I watched as slowly you seemed to all come back together. The blog listed events and detailed a family intent on finding or staying another. It looked like you simply kept going, thoguh I doubt it ws all that simple. Did you talk about it? How do you process wounds? Can we have a glimpse into the inner workings of a functioning adult family where of course not everyone agrees and we know there has been suffering? You tell a lot but I always notice also all that you do not tell. That also gives us a glimpse of how it works. Privacy seems non existant until it is everywhere. More more Mrs P. I love coming here

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