|Alannah in Kansas City --December 2017
The story of Alannah is unfolding rapidly, since she is at that rare, beautiful age where each day brings new challenges and promises. She radiates excitement and as I type this, a thousand images of laughter and tears race through my head.
When she was born, Mario and I lived in South Africa. We regularly SKYPED with Alicia, so we got to see Alicia’s tummy grow all from a webcam connection that spanned two continents. Leading up to the date, Alicia could tell that this baby was larger than Harmony. Soon, she was sure that she would not make it to her due date of August 1. I changed my air travel to arrive near her birthday that year—July 28, 2011. By the time I arrived in Chico, a very pregnant Alicia greeted me--ready to have the baby any minute.
|July 29, 2011 -- Nine days before Alannah was born
|The morning after Alannah was born
|December 2011 --Alicia, me and Alannah (4 months old)
Today, Alannah is six years old. We have been “home” in the United States since 2013 (as I type this I can’t believe it’s been four years.) Our lives are rewarding and happy, but the grandparenting portion makes me smile ear to ear. I take advantage of the (relatively) close proximity by visiting with Alannah and Harmony once a week, usually travelling to Chico on Fridays.
|Alannah with shaved ice--2 weeks ago
“Grandma! Grandma!” Alannah calls to me as I arrive. My heart still skips a beat when I hear her voice—her sincere gratitude for me. Alannah is filled with love and joy –and she brightens the world just by being in it. She feels things in living color, with her whole heart. She is either genuinely happy or extremely sad – very rarely in between. Because she is so filled with emotion, I wish that I could protect her from any kind of hurt and harm. I remember thinking the same thing about her mother—and I couldn’t do it then, either.
|Mixing Shopkins with Legos
Instead, I content myself with “fun Fridays” when Harmony, Alannah and I have outings. Alannah loves to play with the exhibits at the Gateway Science Museum and plays with Calico Critters at Bird in Hand. We visit Jon and Bons for frozen yogurt and splash through the fountains at the downtown plaza. When we go to the library, Alannah puts on puppet shows with the other kids, making me laugh and marvel at her imagination.
|Alannah and Harmony show off a completed puzzle
Even at six years old, Alannah loves to get dressed up. She is kind of a fashion plate, loving fashionable dresses as much as her sister loves jeans and shorts. Her hair is usually beautifully made up, and she has to have earrings matching the clothes she has on.
“Grandma, do I look nice?” she asks me, shyly. What can I do other that sigh?
Alannah, you are so beautiful!” I answer.
|Alannah, Scarlett, and Harmony
Last week, I brought Scarlett with me to Chico (I was in a happiness coma.) At one point, Scarlett turned to Alannah and smiled.
“My favorite color is green. What is your favorite color?”
“Hmmm…” Alannah tilted her head and scratched her chin with her forefinger. “Mine is sparkly gold, but I also like sparkly silver!”
Happy Birthday, Alannah—you are as sparkly as any gold or silver. You are even sparklier! I love you, my beautiful girl--and I'm never ever mad at you!!
|Me with baby and her babies --May 2017