She's one of my favorite people in this world.
More than merely beautiful, she's a genuinely excellent little woman. She handles the challenges of life with more grace than you would expect from many adults, let alone a 17 year old.
Anna is naturally kind and generous--with a devilish wit that comes as a complete surprise to those who don't know her well.
She graduated high school in 2014 and her gap year (she works as a full-time nanny) is quickly coming to a close. I can't wait to see what will become of my little sister during her college years and beyond.
This was our 'art project' that we snuck in one day in the midst of homeschooling and child-watching. Photography is not a talent of mine, but when I graduated high school, my parents bought a studio package for me to get senior photos taken...because spending an afternoon at a professional photo studio sounds like mild torture to Anna, I wanted her to have some photos taken in a more comfortable atmosphere.
We put Angel in charge of all the little ones--I managed hair, makeup, poses, and the camera, while Anna picked out some of her favorite outfits and accessories.
I still wear some of the clothes and jewelry I wore in my senior photos, so my advice to her was to pick things that she genuinely liked to wear and planned on keeping in her wardrobe for a long time.
We were planning on just 3 different outfits--after getting dressed up and a new hairstyle each time, we'd head out to the parking lot, the pool, or the gardens around our apartment building to take photos wherever seemed suitable.
I asked her, "Hey, Anna, do you think that, say, a decade or two down the road, you're gonna look back at your senior photos and regret that you wore a tiara and a masquerade mask in so many of your senior pictures?"
Anna looked at me like I was an utter lunatic, "Of course not! Why would I regret it? Who wouldn't want to wear these?"
That is exactly the answer I was expecting.
A girl after my own heart.
I love her elfin features--I love her wild curls and perpetually tan skin (somehow the result of a Dutch-Irish lineage?)--and most of all I love that she's always been contentedly herself. Peer pressure doesn't stand a chance where Anna's concerned.
As for issues of justice, you'll find her quietly fighting for the oppressed wherever they may be found.
I have met very, very few people in my life who I can honestly say embody the command to "Love your neighbors as yourself."
She really does.