New Child, New Parents

I’m back from my trip to Atlanta. Suzanne has been down there since the 8th, in case my daughter’s first child was born early. Turns out Avi arrived three days later than the projected due date. He is four days old now.

Four days old. I’ve lived his lifespan more than 6,000 times.

Avi is my third grandchild, and what strikes me again and again is how my own children change. Watching Lindsey with her son, I see her becoming a mother. The way they look at each other, focus on each other, exist in each other’s spaces is remarkable. The change in my son when his children were born was no less remarkable, but different. There is something very real, but also undefinable, about a mother and her child. One of those things that is beyond language.

Unlike my son’s children, Avi (the Indian pronunciation is UH-vee) will grow up in two cultures. There is a strong Indian community in Atlanta, including Avi’s grandparents and several other relatives. So he has one set of grandparents with deep East Tennessee roots and one set with roots half a world away. I have believed for a long time that there is great strength in diversity, so if he’s smart, and I can already tell he’s an incredibly gifted child, he will benefit from this in ways none of us can foresee.

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There are a hundred different good ways to raise a child, and I can’t wait to find out how Lindsey and Josh will approach this. I have no doubt they will be good parents; they will handle the day-to-day tasks, and my job will be to alternately spoil him and dispense sage advice, and occasionally tell him how much harder it was in the old days. Seems like an appropriate division of labor to me..

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I was deeply honored to hear that Avi’s parents chose my first name to be his middle name. Something for me to try to live up to, since he will eventually make the connection and I’d like for him to think it was a good decision on his parent’s part.

So this interesting and unpredictable adventure continues, with Suzanne and I now with two children, two more family members chosen by our children, and three grandchildren. In the ways that are the most important, I am a very wealthy man.


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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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