Sherryl continues to do well and is enjoying a higher level of energy than she's had in a few months. She is working at day care every day this week and is cherishing every moment she is spending with the children. She has missed them all so very much. She's tired but says, "It's the best kind of tired."
Today is a special day for our family. Annie Scott Hanna, named for both our parents *, turns 13 years old today! Annie is a teenager? How did that happen? It was just yesterday when she was a sweet-and-sassy two-year-old who would turn to her older cousins, Jonathan and Justin, and ask with perfect enunciation, "Are you cooperating?" She is now a lovely young lady. She is the perfect combination of princess and nerd. OK, we'll explain the nerd part...
When Annie was about 4 years old, she was watching Animal Planet on TV. The three of us (Arleen, Sherryl, and Nadine) were in another room talking and Annie was compelled to come in and tell us all about venomous snakes. When she left the room, the three of us were speechless. Besides absorbing the facts that were just bestowed upon us, at some level we were quite aware that there has never been a time in our entire lives when we discussed any aspect of venomous snakes. Turtles and fish, maybe. Snakes? And venomous ones? Never. One of us finally said with much pride and affection, "I think we are witnessing a nerd in the making."
Annie's attentiveness to science is only one of the attributes that makes her special. It may be safely and accurately stated that her interests are quite broad. Her favorite movies are "The Sound of Music" (just like her mom) and "Phantom of the Opera." She loves history and she loves decorating Christmas cookies. She adores children and animals, and they adore her. At 5 years old, she laughed uncontrollably when she heard a story about Jonathan and a mischievous behavior that took place on the school playground when he was in the 2nd grade, and, last Christmas, she sobbed uncontrollably when she received from her mom a brand new laptop. She is unpredictable yet distinct in her opinions of fashion and, when shopping for clothes last winter, informed her mom and "Auntie Een" that her style is "indiscernible."
If you are beginning to see a pattern emerge relative to vocabulary, you're on to something. Annie is a voracious reader, knows the names of all authors she has read, and, thanks to the great foresight of her mom, has been listening to books on tape since she was only 11 months old. She has been elected by her school's student body, for the second consecutive year, to serve as Commissioner of Religious Affairs on the St. Isabella School Student Council.
In addition to faith, high on Annie's list of values is family. She cherishes tradition and looks forward to spending time with all family members. When it comes to Sherryl, Annie is credited with originating many nicknames. Rarel and ShaSha are two of them. True to form, Sherryl has forged a special bond with her niece. So, Sherryl gave to Annie on her 10th birthday a bouquet of flowers. And Sherryl gave to Annie again today another. We'll celebrate Annie's 13th birthday as a family this weekend.
Sugar and spice and everything nice; that's what little girls are made of. This little girl is the perfect combination of princess and nerd. She is the perfect combination of compassionately sensitive and charmingly giddy. And she is the perfect combination of confidently poised and modestly humbled. This little girl, who is now a young lady, has tremendous potential and is destined to make this world a better place, simply because she is here.
Nadine has programmed into her cell phone a special ringtone that announces when Annie is calling. The ringtone is "Annie's Song" by John Denver. As you watch photos and footage reminiscent of one of Annie's favorite movies, listen to the words of this song in the context of the love a mother has for her child. We learned from our mother much about unconditional love for children, and her legacy lives on.
Happy 13th Birthday to you, Sweet Annie.
* Mom's name was Anna Mae, but most called her Annie. And Dad's middle name was Scott. Our parents would be so very, very proud of their only granddaughter and namesake, Annie Scott Hanna.