Avery Elizabeth McGraw
I’ve shaken a lot of hands over the years, but the most powerful handclasp I’ve ever experienced in my life took place a few days ago when Avery Elizabeth McGraw, my new granddaughter, wrapped her hand around my little finger.
When she was delivered, I quickly tweeted that this was going to be a game changer. I was way off the mark. This is such a life-changing event that I don’t even know where to start. No single emotion can describe what Robin and I are going through. There is, of course, the elation that Avery Elizabeth is a bright-eyed, bubbling baby, already so full of life. There is the immense sense of relief that neither she nor her mother experienced any complications during the delivery. There is also the overwhelming pride we feel looking at Jay and Erica, realizing they are now parents, about to start a whole new, wonderful phase of their lives.
And, interestingly enough, Robin and I have begun to truly understand something else. With the arrival of a new generation in the family, we suddenly realize where we are in the continuum of life. We are at a place where we have to admit that life no longer stretches endlessly ahead of us. We are, indeed, at a place where we can number our remaining years.
In a way, it’s been sobering to recognize how quickly things move on. But we also think of this as a magnificent opportunity to make those remaining years as important and as meaningful as they can be.
How are we going to do that? I’ll tell you one way: we are definitely going to spend the next chapter of our lives being the best grandparents we can. We absolutely cannot wait to provide unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life — as well as cookies, and extra spending money, and on and on. We have promised ourselves that we will be the kind of grandparents who are always short on criticism, long on love and respectful of her parents’ guidelines in shaping their daughter.
I do love how the cycle of life works. Jay and Erica have always made us proud, and they will do so as parents. We have already seen their loving touch, their gentle nature with their daughter. Avery is blessed to be born into a happy and stable marriage; a God-centered home with vibrant and involved parents. Robin and I, along with Uncle Jordan, gladly accept the challenge to make her the most spoiled granddaughter on the globe!
HA! Did I say that out loud? Well, it could very well be true. Robin held her every chance she got today, rocking and cooing. And a friend said to me, after watching me grin with delight while little Avery Elizabeth snuggled into the crook of my arm, “That girl’s going to get more out of you than the IRS.” And why not? In just these few days, she’s already given Robin and me a feeling of joy that can’t be measured. And as time goes on, she will be giving us the chance to see the world again, through a brand new pair of eyes. She will take us places we wouldn’t otherwise go. She will show us things we’ve gotten too jaded to notice. She will surprise and delight us, and I hope we do the same for her, sprinkling whatever stardust we can on her life.
I love the old saying, “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.” God has compensated us well. Welcome to this world, Avery Elizabeth McGraw.