Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Alannah

Through the years!  Alannah In many stages of cuteness


Alannah sings with Alexa at Alicia's Birthday Party
July 2018

Alannah is going to start second grade soon, and this year she’s learned to read well.  In her room, a bookshelf of her favorite books—mostly Princess related—is also decorated with stars, hearts, stuffed unicorns, and miniatures.   She is our sparkling, princess granddaughter, so filled with joy and sparkles that she glitters wherever she goes.  Just like her mama!  

Seven years ago, I appealed to friends on social media: “My daughter, Alicia, is scheduled to be induced tomorrow early in the morning.  Please pray that all will go well!!”  Between the lines, I can still feel my anxiety and concern for my daughter.  When she was eight years old, Alicia was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, and though she managed diabetes as best as she could, childbirth is always complicated, and doctors openly called the pregnancy “high risk” for mother and baby.
Alicia had given birth to Harmony just two years before, but that labor was long and hard, and her beautiful baby was born in distress, struggling to breathe in the first six minutes of her life.  None of us wanted a repeat of that scare, even though Harmony had recovered completely, showing no signs of any birth trauma as she exited the hospital.
In 2011, when Alicia was pregnant with Alannah, Mario and I lived in South Africa.  We regularly SKYPED with Alicia, and got to see our daughter’s tummy grow month by month, all via webcam.
“I think this baby’s going to be larger than Harmony,” she told us. “I might not make it to my due date of August 1.”
“Should I change my flights?” I asked her.  “Should I come earlier?”
Alicia smiled.  “Yeah, I think so.”  

Arrived in Chico--July 2011

I changed my flights and traveled to the USA in time to celebrate Alicia’s birth (July 28) but Alannah didn’t arrive until August 8.  Even she was born after another long, hard labor, Alannah came out kicking and screaming.  I had never been so grateful for loud cries in my life.  Mario was with us via SKYPE hookup, and we both celebrated the mercy of God!

Just after birth


Yes, you're reading that right--9 lbs 4.9 oz
Alicia was incredibly exhausted afterward, and had lost so much blood that they talked about arranging for a transfusion.  The good news was that the baby was delightfully healthy—Alannah Litney Vosburg was 9 lbs, 5 ounces and 21 inches long.  She was pink and beautiful—lots of noises came from her. We all rejoiced in her beauty.  I got to hold her almost as soon as she came out.

Our first contact!  10 Minutes old

The next day came the sad reality: I had to leave only one day after Alannah was born. Because I had rearranged my flights thinking the baby was coming earlier, the return flight (two weeks after arrival) was also earlier.  International flights can’t be rescheduled like domestic flights can be—and I felt a strange mixture of gratitude and grief.  Alicia said she understood, but I knew she wished I could stay. Our goodbyes were tearful, but we smiled for photographs with the new baby, a granddaughter that I would see four months later, at Christmas. 
 
Just before saying goodbye - August 9, 2011


Today, Alannah is SEVEN years old!  And yet, all of this feels like it happened last week.
Now living in the USA, Mario and I are regular fixtures in the lives of our children and grandchildren.  Every Friday, I make the trip to Chico and see Harmony and Alannah, many times with Scarlett, who adores her cousins.
At Caper Acres Spring 2018

Alannah has grown into a beautiful girl.  She is kind, affectionate, loving, creative, has a beautiful singing voice and a great imagination.  She is also tender-hearted and empathetic—with a beauty and warmth that is rare in human beings.
Reading at Chico's The Bookstore

When I asked Alannah what she wanted to do for her SEVENTH birthday, she answered without thinking. 
“Grandma, I’m going to have friends over for a unicorn birthday party and you’re invited!”
“Am I?” I asked. “Can I bring Grandpa?”
“Yes, Grandpa, too!”  She said, sparkling with excitement.  “My whole family and all of my friends are coming and we’re going to have so much fun!”  Unable to contain any more excitement, Alannah jumped off the couch and started jumping up and down.  
“What do you want for your birthday?” I asked her.  She stopped jumping for a moment and thought. 
“I want you to come to my party.”
I smiled. 
Alannah's Unicorn Costume she swore she was wearing to the party

The best thing about returning to your home country after several years of meaningful, rewarding work in the mission field, is family.  In the middle of familial reward, there are grandchildren, the best beings in the whole world—especially when you have one like Alannah.
Happy SEVENTH Birthday, dear Alannah!  We love you!! 

Alannah wears my glasses after a bath