Twenty three years ago our beautiful Annabelle Rose arrived on the scene. Surrounded by my husband, nursing students and a stern older O.B. nurse explaining to me that I could not scream and push at the same time, she arrived after a speedy 6 minutes of pushing and weighed in at 5 lbs 12 oz.
Her big brother Ben thought she was pretty neat and insisted we call her “Bart Simpson.” Instead we named her after my Aunt Annabelle who was well loved by everyone in the family and overcame many obstacles to raise her own beautiful family. Annabelle had a healthy appetite from the beginning and I always thought it was fun and an important learning experience to allow she and her brother to help in the kitchen despite any messes we might make.
We also made a point to eat together as a family every evening and though the meals could be pretty creative when times were tough, Annabelle and her brother were adventurous eaters and rarely fussed about their food. Annabelle went through a phase where she wasn’t crazy about veggies, but we just kept putting them on her plate and encouraging her to taste them and before we knew it, broccoli was her favorite veggie and she was asking for more. People were often amazed our kids ate more exotic foods like pesto and not just chicken nuggets and hot dogs.
We were pretty smitten with this joyful little girl and before we knew it she was off to the first day of kindergarten. She had to be the first one in line to get into the school and hurried down to her room to start the adventure her brother had been on that she was missing. It’s hard to believe she just graduated from college this month with her bachelors degree in Social work.
When I decided to take the plunge into plant based eating 2 1/2 years ago, Annabelle was the first one I asked to come along with me on my adventure. She said that of course she would, and reminded me that when she was in middle school she wanted to become vegetarian and I blew her off. Oops! Annabelle and I went on that day I invited her to our plant based adventure for our first plant based grocery trip and she helped me make our first official plant based meal from the Forks over Knives cookbook. Even though she had to return to college after that Thanksgiving weekend, she dove right in, found plant based options in the college cafeteria, and began her love affair with plants. Even though her options were limited, she found a way to make it work and lost over 20 lbs and had almost complete resolution of a digestive issue the gastroenterologist could not solve. She could have done a risky procedure to diagnose and treat the issue that was suspected, but her chances of developing pancreatitis was around 50% and that was not a risk worth taking. I don’t remember the last time she called to tell me she was awakened with debilitating abdominal pain.
Annabelle is now pursuing her Masters degree in Social work and living in her own apartment. Even though she has an internship Monday through Friday and class on Saturdays, she and her fiancée Rob, have been cooking beautiful meals together and she has been texting me pictures of their dishes!
We love you Annabelle and are still smitten and very proud of you!
Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!