Lance didn’t make it in time to watch Annabels entry into this world. After a frantic rush to the hospital, he arrived three minutes after our second child’s birth. Those three minutes in which this new little bundle belonged only to me, was one of the most transforming experiences of my life. I was spell-bound as her spirit entered into my heart and weaved a bond that was so powerful, I couldn’t speak. After a childhood of heartbreak, I’d entered into the delivery room a woman with a lonely child hidden in a corner of her soul. I left that room on that fateful day, with an angel in my heart, one who promised that she’d lead that frightened child to the light, and that no matter what happened, she’d be there to make everything okay. I gave birth to my guardian angel 23 years ago to this day. And in these last 23 years, she has helped free my soul from bondage, just as she promised. She brought back the warmth of the sun, and the feel of the rain. She touched my spirit and reminded me how to laugh from the depths of forever. She made me taste life as I’d never tasted it before. She brought me back to the world and made me face what I needed to face. She is joy. She is laughter. She holds the mystery of the universe in her beautiful blue eyes. She is everything I live for. She is the most magnificent woman I have ever known.
Way back then in 1989 the scans were never accurate as to the sex of a child in the womb, so I didn’t have a clue what I was going to get. All I did know was that I didn’t want a girl. I carried all sorts of baggage in those days. I imagined she’d remind me of my own vulnerability as a child, and the thought of a little female in my arms scared the life out of me. I liked boys. I had to have a boy. I already had a sturdy little boy and a wonderfully sturdy husband. I mentally ordered another sampling from that species.
And then there she was. The moment the nurse told me I had a girl, my heart did a double somersault. Yes, my heart whispered. Yes. They placed her in my arms and for the first time in my life, my loneliness was gone.
It was Annabel who led me to the world of alternative healing and opened the door to the true magic of life. It was she who taught me to respect another human being and refrain from imposing my idea of how things should be. It was my beautiful guardian angel who reflected back the power of my spirit, my mental and emotional strength and my ability to keep moving when the going got tough. She wasn’t an easy child you see. She had a mind of her own, and neither Lance nor I had any say in how she intended to live her little life.
We went through a difficult patch, trying to get her to conform to our expectations of how children should be. She wasn’t having any of it and stuck to her guns. I was embarrassed as the other mothers looked upon my parenting skills with disdain. They had no clue that the rules as they knew them just didn’t apply to Annie. She never had tantrums. She was never rude. In fact, she was happy all the time. Annabel simply did what Annabel wanted, when she wanted. Lance and I were learning the hard way that some people were born to alter your way of looking at the world.
My child, under constant watch for her safety, would somehow escape and be found up a lamp-post, balancing on a window-ledge, or in a neighbour’s house uninvited, rifling through their videos, looking for a movie to watch. She’d ask for what she wanted in any situation, defying the laws which begged polite conformance to social behaviour. Sometimes she wouldn’t ask. She’d pick flowers from people’s gardens, or take fruit from their trees. If she wanted to borrow something from another child and they weren’t around to ask, she’d simply take it and return it to the bewildered kid the next day. You can imagine how that looked. And how my standing as a ‘good mommy’ was shot to pieces as I stood and looked on helplessly, not having had any clue that she’d taken something without asking! She’d give our domestic helper a run for her money by locking her out of the house, or pushing her into the laundry basket when she bent over to take out the washing. She slept when she wanted to, refusing to go to bed at set times. She ate when she wanted to, and when she felt inclined, would search for the sweets that I’d been forced to hide, and share them with her friends. Once, at the age of six, she asked my friend Sue (who had a son just like Annie) if she knew what a lesbian was, and proceeded to tell her how she and Sue’s son had stolen a video from someone’s house and had seen how girls ‘do it’. Annabel told me at this very young age to please not presume she would marry a man because she might just grow up to like girls instead. I didn’t have an answer to that one. This wise little child was right.
No amount of punishment worked. No amount of vigilance worked. She was a regular Houdini for whom escape tactics were part of her nature. Trust didn’t work either, because in Annabel’s mind, we were the fools for asking her to be something other than what she was. Our last resort was to smack her legs when we thought she got out of line, and when that failed like everything else, we were relieved to be able to count that method out. We were forced, however, to sit down in utter defeat. I wondered whether to take her to a psychiatrist, but intuition stopped me from doing so.
During this time Annie developed bronchitis. It was only out of frustration with the ineffectiveness of conventional medicine that I cautiously approached an alternative healer for advice. I thought I was in this healer’s surgery to get medicine, but I was in for a surprise. At the start of the first meeting, the practitioner wasn’t interested in speaking to me; she wanted to speak to my daughter. And when she was finished, she addressed me, wanting to know where the pressure on Annabel was coming from. Was it school? The teachers? She asked me to search for the source, and that when I sorted it out, her bronchitis, which had been on-going for about a year, would disappear altogether.
I was shocked and deeply intrigued to eventually figure out that when we berated Annabel for her ‘defiance’ of our authority, we were actually making her feel worthless. We were sending her the message that who she was as a human being was not enough. I was horrified with myself as I discovered my own need for approval within our community. I bent over backwards to be liked and refrained from doing anything that would make me stand out from the crowd. I was hell-bent on conforming to social etiquette, but Annabel put paid to all of that. When I made the decision to stop caring about what others thought, everything changed. Lance and I stopped our chiding and let her be who she was born to be. When we learned to get over ourselves and not force her to conform, her chest healed up altogether.
Today, my Annie is a beautiful, strong woman, with a mystical heart that compels her to search for the truth in her soul. We are inseparable, her, Lance and I. When we fight, we can’t stay out of love for long. We pass in the corridor, and I feel the need to touch her. She is made of something indescribable. Her essence is pure love and she is a balm to my soul.
Her kindness to others is humbling, and her friendships are forged in the spirit. Her friends are of all ages, from all walks of life. Everyone who knows her absolutely adores her. When she walks into a room, she never fails to take my breath away. Her presence is as enchanting now as it was the day she was born. It is awesome that an angel could have been gifted to me, and I am grateful that she had the courage to be who she was in the face of all adversity. Most of all I will be forever indebted to her for possessing the strength to refuse to let us change her. Life, the Universe, the Spirit of All Things is magical. But it took an angel to make me see it.
Happy Birthday my Beautiful Annabel!