A is for Annalise!

500 words on…….Annalise!

Baby Annalise in my old bunting, age 3.5 months.

She came to us after a season of sorrow, and, at first, we were not given much reason to believe that she could arrive safely into this world.

And then, on a hot July Thursday morning, she did. The chilly air in the operating room turned to ice in those long seconds when, arms strapped down and lower half numb from the epidural, I waited the several eternities it took between the time they announced that she was, indeed a girl, and the sound of her first, incensed scream.

She was jaundiced, at first – her body was strong, but no one had told her liver it was going to need to start working on its own that day, and it needed a couple of weeks to recover from the shock. She slept a lot, which was unsettling.

And then she woke up. Very quickly, we learned that she is a force of nature, much larger on the inside than on the outside.

She understood language early, and spoke early. One of her first and most useful words was, “Happened.” She would use it in a wide variety of contexts. There was the puzzled, “Happened?” as she held up a toy that disn’t work as she expected, the delighted, “Happened!” that said she was happily surprised. “Happened -” with a teary face, when she fell and got hurt, “Happened…” to explain why something had been dumped, thrown, or spilled.

Age 6.5, eating a strawberry from the kitchen patch.

She was slower to walk, because she studied each movement of her legs, carefully and repeatedly, as she stood holding onto the coffee table, bending and straightening each leg as she frowned in concentration…

She’s grown up with a considerable command not only of her native tongue, but of easily picking up phrases and pronunciations in other languages, an intuitive ability to read body language, tone of voice, mood, and gestures. She still loves the American Sign Language signs she learned to communicate better with us in babyhood, and expanded during her fascination with Koko, the signing gorilla who was an early hero.

Now, she loves horses especially, and that seems typical enough for a nearly 8 year old girl. But, go just a bit deeper, and there are her other, less ordinary passions: Venomous snakes, insects, spiders, and other animals; ecosystems and habitats; exotic animals from all over the world (she possesses a remarkable array of knowledge of species, genus, anatomy, dietary, and reproductive information on an ever-growing range of animals).

She soaks up nature documentaries at a prodigious rate; she is learning to read as naturally as she breathes, and has never had a lesson. She writes, and she creates art as prolifically as the dandelions which dot the lawn and so delight her.

Age almost 6, Parelli lesson with Jody and Kresney

She narrates her life – a life lived with confidence and joy and daring. She is what I may have been, if I had lived my childhood in the absence of threat and control from and by the adults in my world…..or, in her words, which sum up what means the most to her, just now:

“I’m made of bravery…….and water.”

20 thoughts on “A is for Annalise!

  1. kimterry says:

    What a cutie! My heart melted when I saw her smile!

    • shanjeniah says:

      Kim –

      She has that same affect on us. And her eyes have danced, right from the start. She’s getting older, and has her permanent front teeth, now, and still – that smile that comes right from her soul…

      Thank you for stopping by! =)

    • shanjeniah says:

      Kim –

      Thank you! That smile and those dancing eyes have beguiled us all from the beginning. She truly is a force of nature, and I love watching her move through her days….and being a part of them!

  2. Adena says:

    So sweet, love the “I am made of bravery….and water.”

    • shanjeniah says:

      Adena –

      She discovered a new nature documentary on Netflix, via her 3DS. She said, “It even warns you that it’s scary.” I asked her id it had scared her, and that was her totally priceless reply! I wrote it down right away, so that I wouldn’t forget! =)

  3. Ella says:

    This was such a pleasure to read! I loved how you shared your feelings and her happening personality~
    Nice to meet you!

    • shanjeniah says:

      Ella –

      Thank you. She is, indeed, a “happening” girl!

      Tonight, I was treated to a ride on a one-horse open sleigh that took me to the tropics, where it became a carriage.

      We saw thousands of parrots, deer, a river, and bison, then the carriage became a boat and we traveled to an island.

      There was also a Bacon Dance.

      Oh, and fort-building and camping beneath.

      There is a lot more of Annalise on my other blog, The Unfettered Life (www.memismommy.blogspot.com).

      Nice to meet you too, and thanks for stopping by! =)

  4. kford2007 says:

    What a precious gem you have. Keep feeding her soul and her imagination and she’ll go far.

  5. baygirl32 says:

    such a pretty girl! great idea for A

  6. Awww, so lovely. What a sweetie! Holly

    • shanjeniah says:

      Holly –

      Thank you! =)

      The lovely sweetie in question fell asleep late and got up early. It’s chilly, damp, and rainy. She’s a little cranky, but still exuberant and well-loved. YouTube anime music videos are her current amusement, as she waits for Nature on PBS. =)

  7. The most beautiful “a” I’ve read all day. Thanks for sharing this. It’s always wonderful to find a parent who knows their child is a blessing, and can paint a picture of why.

    • shanjeniah says:

      Joe –

      Thanks! We like her a lot.

      I know what you mean about parents. So many seem to see their children only through themselves, and not as individual people with their own unique selves and lives.

      Because Annalise and her brother (you can meet him at “J is for Jeremiah”), don’t attend school, we spend a LOT of time together.

      Because Jim and I strive to be their partners rather than their adversaries, they trust us enough to reveal the deeper parts of themselves.

      Because we don’t see their lives as unimportant or their passions inferior to our own, we pay attention to details we might not, otherwise…..

      Of course, there is no way to fully describe her essence in so few words,so I am glad I had pictures. =)

  8. Pish Posh says:

    Very touching story. Beautiful girl, made of bravery and water.

    Thanks!

    Visiting from A-Z.

  9. Bonnie Gwyn says:

    What a wonderful girl to have ‘happened!’ :)

    • shanjeniah says:

      She amazes me. Every day, usually in several ways. Her today has so far included reading, navigating the Internet, planting, seeing chicks at the feed store, watching the end of CInderella on Ice, Playing Life and Don’t Wake Daddy with her brother, creating a one-horse open sleigh, teo short naps,and a few costume changes.

      You’re right. It’s really cool she “happened”! =)

  10. Geoffrey says:

    Guess what, Annalise is going to become an adventurer and a champion for nature conservation. :)
    Nice post, Geoff.

    • shanjeniah says:

      Geoff –

      She already is. “It’s OK, I’m a daredevil!” was an early sentence.

      She is also a storyteller, an artist, a rollerblader, a hiker, a gamer, a Random Animal, involved in several symbiotic relationships with various Beanie Babies and Littlest Pet Shop characters, a keen observer of an experimenter with nature; a singer; a dancer; a “salonist”, and a dizzyingly diverse array of other things.

      Whatever she decides to be, she is right now the girl who greets me each day with, “Good morning Sweet One”, as she comes for cuddles.

      And that’s just the way I like it.

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