A Very Avery


22 years ago yesterday my first child, Avery was born. July 8, 2001 was the day I fully realized what hope meant. My understanding was confirmed once again when my son, Wyatt was born the following year on August 22, 2002, and those two days synchronously became the anchors for my hope perspective. 

Avery wrote a beautiful blog post for me on my birthday last year. She was off at school so couldn't celebrate with us in person. She decided to tell the story of how she started her blog, (I suggested that she should when she was nine years old,) "A Very Avery." She explained how her love for writing evolved through my influence, along with several other traits she claims she got from her old dad. I strongly suggest you read it, and all the other posts too... Avery is a very good and entertaining writer, but prepare for some tears to flow.

When Avery was a tiny little baby, I used to lay down in our family room on the old IKEA couch with her every single night so she could fall asleep swaddled tightly in one of her flannel baby blankets. I used to wrap her up snuggly to evoke a sense of safety and love, and it wouldn't take long before she was in dreamland. I wish I had the words to describe the feeling I had each evening when we laid down, but I don't think it's possible to express accurately. I'll just say that everything good about the world and life itself was realized in those moments that I could feel her heartbeat clos to mine, and I'd wonder what she was dreaming about. There was no negativity. It was a feeling that I had done a very good thing by co-creating this little human, and that our bond made me feel hope for everything that was to come. Avery represented all of my wildest dreams, and I knew that she was going to do great, great things. As I think back at those moments I just remember the humility in feeling that I had a small part to play in nurturing an incredible person, and that is what Avery has always been. I'm indescribably proud of any role I played in that.

As Avery grew up, every time I watched her as an infant, and on into her early childhood and teen years I would just feel that sense of wonderment and hopefulness that started the day she was born all over again. It was like my single favorite song on repeat all day long, every day. When I got up in the night to feed her in that yellow rocking chair, staring at her when she was sleeping in her Winnie the Pooh crib, when she made "Strawberry Coffee" for us in her playroom at the little kitchen, or when pulling her in the bike trailer as she struggled to stay alert to what was passing by because her helmet was so big compared to her little head that it would bump into the back of the covered trailer and cover her eyes. If you know anything about Avery, you'll know that she doesn't ever want to miss anything!

Of all the things I know for sure about that repeating song feeling of pure joy being with Avery there is only one that I can't confirm. Now that my little, tiny girl is a remarkable grown up woman, I remember every single time we spent together, and as the song replays in my heart, I just want to feel confident that Avery also remembers those times and that she felt everything I'd want her to feel. We don't get to spend a lot of time together these days, but at least if she could remember the love and safety I strived to provide for her, (and still do,) that would take the edge off being apart for me.

Hope without action is wishful thinking. Throughout my fatherhood experience I've made thousands of mistakes, but I've done my best to be supportive, and consistent in my example of what a good person is. If Avery's disposition is an indication, then I think I got it mostly right. Her drive, her zeal for life and experiences, her quirky intelligence, her love for simple, beautiful things, her seeking of truths, and her sense of righteousness might in some small way be a reflection of me and the way I see the world. My wife, Bina and I raised an honest, beautiful, and good girl. These are the important things, and Avery personifies them.

It's been a long time in dad years since Avery lived at home with us, and I struggle if I think about it too much. Before the kids left to experience new adult adventures, for years I used to pacify myself about how many years I had left to hang out with them, watch movies, ski, ride bikes, go on holidays, talk, drive, listen to music, walk the dog... and then counting years turned to thinking, "there's still four months," then down to one, and then it was counting days, and then as if eighteen years passed by in an instance, Avery was off to Paris to live a lifelong dream working as a nanny and being the real life "Emily In Paris." She has never looked back.

Avery, now you're twenty-two years old, and although I can't tell you what to do, I can have faith that my influence on you was strong enough as you were growing up to make you think first about other people, to recognize opportunity, to see the alternative side of issues, to work hard, to be a loyal friend, and to always remember where you came from. We love you and we can't wait to celebrate your "un-birthday" just like we did when you were a little girl and just needed something to celebrate. It doesn't have to be your birthday to celebrate you.

Happy birthday, Avery:)

Love, Dad.



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