I have been silenced, to some extent, by the idea that by writing down Annalee's amazing doings and sayings I would be diminishing her somehow.
However, after much soul-searching, I am returning to my jottings here in an effort to preserve a record of one of the world's most beloved people during her early years.
A couple of weeks ago, she understood something faster than I thought made sense and I said, "How did you know that?"
"Because I'm a smart lady," she said.
For most of the first half of her fourth year, she responded to questions regarding her age with just about any number greater than her actual age, having gleaned, evidently, that older people have more say in the world.
At the park: "How old are you?"
"Seven," Annalee answered.
At Whole Foods: "How old are you?"
At the pool: "How old are you?"
"Eighty-three." (This was her favorite age for weeks.)
Although she is no longer "with child," she has successfully accepted several new beings into the world as her sister-daughters: Monica, Katelyn, Baby Pink, and Apple Dumplet. All of them are beloved, and well-attended to.