Today is Avery's 3rd birthday. She is growing so fast, yet when I think of what I was doing 3 years ago, it seems like a lifetime ago.
The day she was born, I was at work taking care of last minute details for a Board Retreat we were having. It was an expectation that all board members and the Executive Director (me) attend this retreat because we were discussing the goals and strategic plan for the new organizations future.
When my son called to tell me that he was taking Jessie to the hospital, suddenly I went into "ALMOST Grandma" mode. I paced, gave orders, paced, tried to do paperwork, paced, looked at my phone, paced, called other family members to see if perhaps I had just missed the call, paced, and finally decided to go wait at the hospital. One of my Board members called me and said, "Don't even think about coming to the retreat, you are where you should be today".
I was lucky to work for an all women run, non-profit, family organization that promoted family values, and led by example. We walked the walk as well as talked the talk.
The hospital let the grandparents and aunts sit in a waiting room that was next to the nursery so that when they brought the babies in, you could see them right away.
At that time, even though I was anxious to meet my new granddaughter, I was also trying to remain in contact with work. I was still Beth, the Executive Director, texting and checking email on my Blackberry. And then, I saw her.........
She was the most beautiful little girl I had ever laid my eyes on. I cannot describe the emotion I felt at that moment. And when I saw her middle finger sticking up - I knew immediately that she was a Berndt. Suddenly, I didn't care about anything else, I was a Grandma. I felt this overwhelming surge of intense joy - just by looking at her! I couldn't take my eyes off of her!
My son's first child, my other sons first niece, my parents first Great-Grandchild, and my Grandmothers first Great-Great- Grandchild. She was a special little girl right from the start.
Jessie's Mom looked at me and offered congratulations on my first grandchild. She had just experienced the same thing three weeks earlier, when Jessie's sister had her first child, also a girl. Avery was going to have a cousin so close to her age that they would seem like twins.
When we got to Jessie's room, we found Mommy, Daddy, and baby Avery basking in the glory of birth. The new little family was tired but overwhelmed with joy. Nate was on cloud 9.
So was I.
Suddenly the room was full of relatives and at that moment I realized just how blessed this little girl was going to be to have such a large community of family watching over her, guiding her, and loving her unconditionally.
Avery is such an inquisitive child. Full of energy and life. And caring. Who knew a child of three could understand and feel so kind towards others? She is always willing to share what she has with others. Her Mommy and Daddy are doing a wonderful job raising her.
I spend at least once a week with Avery. We are pals. I love and cherish my special time with my little princess, lover of dogs, kitties, cars, spiders, bugs, babies, flowers, stars, pumpkins, dancing and singing. We recently took a train ride together and I was able to capture her expression as she snuggled up next to me and just enjoyed the ride.
On Thursday, my husband and I went to dinner with Avery and her Daddy - her Mommy had to work - so we could celebrate her birthday with her. Everyone wore princess crowns and she celebrated with a large hot fudge sundae, while the waitstaff sang Happy Birthday to her. She enjoyed and popped three balloons and opened her many gifts from "Gaga and Poppy". It was a fun event.
She sang Happy Birthday and "Bear Down Chicago Bears" (Yeah I really did enjoy her singing that song even if we are Packer fans)
Today she painted pumpkins. She loves to paint and be creative.
After Mommy and Daddy took her for her special Birthday dinner, she came home to cake!
As we enter another year, she will enjoy many new experiences, including the birth of a new brother or sister. She is such a loving child, I can't wait to see how she helps me take care of the newest member of our family.
People used to say that they loved being a parent, and loved their children, but once they became a grandparent, they experienced a deeper, different kind of love they were not expecting to feel.
I thought it was just words. But now..........
Or in my case......"Gaga"