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Abby in her thoughtful mode.

The brain is a funny thing.

More and more, as I watch Abby growing up, I can see her little mind working away.  Today she was trying very hard to speak to me, particularly when I repeated the word “daddy” over and over to her.  (Erin kept trying to interject with “mommy” but I just yelled made-up babble and covered Abby’s ears to try to ensure that her first coherent words are directly related to me.)  She focuses on things for longer and longer intervals.  She makes a range of noises (see here for a list) that gets more varied each day.  She is starting to understand that the objects that occasionally bump into her nose are her own hands.

We rely on our brains to do most of our thinking for us (when other, dumber organs allow it to do so), and yet it so often fails us when we really need it.  My brain, for instance, seems to lack a compass.  I get lost in shopping malls, small towns, and some long hallways.  It takes me several minutes of hard thinking to determine which way is north if I’m driving west.

I know from experience with many family members that the brain can do strange things with the passage of time.  Wires get crossed, connections short out, and the basic functioning that we took for granted starts to get a bit spotty.  My wife can attest to this better than anyone; her job is delirium prevention in elderly patients at a hospital.  She sees men and women that have lost their mental way all the time.

Because of all of this, I can’t find words enough to express the fact that my grandmother – whose mind has not been very kind to her in the last few years – could rattle off every detail of Abby’s visit last week (read about it here).  I also realize that the words are best expressed by my Aunt Anne in a message she sent to my wife:

Hi Erin,
Thank you so much for the photos.  You know we would love her just as much if she were as homely as a hedge fence but she is just so darned cute.  I look at pictures of her every single day.
Saw Mom yesterday and she remembered every detail of your visit; said that Nick carried her like he was presenting the Queen’s crown, and when he put her in her arms she had to look down because she was crying.  She is most happy that Nick is so proud of her and that you now have your own family.
Kathleen had printed off the blog story and Mom had showed it to everyone who came in.
Of course she does not know what a blog is but I was amazed that she remembered so much of your visit.

It proved to me once again what a blessing my daughter has been to this family.

But more importantly, it demonstrated once again why I love my Aunt Anne.  I mean, who else would even think to use the phrase “homely as a hedge fence?”