Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Welcome to the Family Avery Elizabeth!

This column was originally published in the Sun Chronicle on March 23, 2012

Almost four years ago I became a grandfather for the first time. My grandson (did I mention his name is William?) was born in 2008 on Cape Cod. I wasn’t at the hospital when he made his debut, but I did make it within an hour of his arrival. It was a memorable night.

This past Monday was an equally unforgettable evening as I became a grandfather for the second time. But there were a couple of major differences, aside from the fact it was the younger of my two sons who was the proud father. First, he and his wife live more than 300 miles away, so driving there and arriving moments after the birth was simply not possible. And second, this child is a beautiful baby girl.

Avery Elizabeth Gouveia was born on March 19 in Maryland. She will have to wait until later this evening to actually meet her proud paternal grandparents, who as you read this are winging their way down Interstate 95 towards a moment we have been anticipating for a long time. After two sons and the world’s most amazing grandson, we have a little girl. I have a granddaughter. I’m not sure that has fully sunk in yet.

Our vigil for her birth was more agonizing than the one for her cousin because of the distance. Four years ago I was awaiting the okay to jump in the car and drive to my new grandchild. The call announcing it was time seemed to be the beginning of that night rather than the end. It spurred me into action, gave me an outlet for all the pent-up emotion of the process of becoming a grandparent.

This time the call was the climax of the evening, every bit as welcome and as exciting as the first. The joy was incredible and the happiness unbelievable. Thanks to the amazing technology existing in the area of communications today, we were able to watch our beautiful granddaughter live from the comfort of our own home.

But after we hung up, there was no trip to take that night. I was left to try and go to sleep when all I wanted to do was hug my new granddaughter and tell the world of her arrival. Despite the late hour I texted all the people I knew wouldn’t kill me for making their phone beep late at night, and then tossed and turned until it was time to go to work.

Of course, during that uncomfortable period I thought about my long-awaited granddaughter. I have this irrational fear that I won’t know how to act around this precious little princess. I know it is an imaginary problem, and will no doubt disappear the first time I hold this little angel in my arms. But I still worry I will be clumsy and unable to convey just how much I already adore and cherish her.

I can’t say I ever really ever thought too much about never having had a daughter. I did luck out and acquire two wonderful daughter-in-laws, both of whom have put up with me and all my quirks and idiosyncrasies. I love them both very much, though we will never know how I would have fared if I had been their parent during the years they were growing up. That’s probably a good thing.

But now any questions I had about having a granddaughter will be answered. And not because of this mental image I have had in my head all these many months. I no longer have to imagine what it will be like to have a granddaughter – I actually have one. And tonight I get to hold her in my arms, tell her how much I love her, and how I have dreamed about her for so long.

Avery Elizabeth - Grandpa is on his way. He may not be too sure just how to handle you yet, but he has no problem loving you with all his heart. You are surrounded by family who will always stand by you, and that makes you a lucky little girl. But this grandfather feels like he is now officially the luckiest person in the world.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and the proud grandfather of Avery Elizabeth Gouveia. He can be reached at

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