Dear Avalyn Grace
They tell you so many things about being a grandma. They say: ''it's brilliant because you can enjoy them and you get to sleep at nights.'' They say: ''You get to give them back at the end of the day.'' They say, ''you have all the fun and none of the responsibility.'' It is now a week since you were born, my little granddaughter. Your name, Avalyn comes from the Hebrew for Eve, the giver of life. It is a reminder of your Jewish inheritance through the female side of your family. Grace means 'the free and unmerited favour of God', a reminder of your Christian heritage through your father's side of the family.
You did not have an easy birth - it took three days for you to come into the world, small, perfect and bright eyed, as you were when I held you in the hospital that day after you were born. Such tiny fingers and feet, each crease a miniature of what it will become.
What they did not say, could not say, was how as I held you, I felt such a strong overwhelming love for you, my little one
It was like a great golden wave, sweeping in, changing everything. I did not know that such a small person could generate such big love! Now you are back home in your parents' tiny flat in London. You have your cot, with its whale mobile, and its white muslin curtains. Your clothes, so small and colourful, are folded away in the drawer, waiting for you to wear them.
My beautiful granddaughter Avalyn
You know nothing of all this. All you know is your mother's voice, her scent, the touch of her hands holding your tiny body, the milk that sustains you. Already you are becoming a little person with your own funny quirks. You like staring at the headboard. You turn your head when your father comes into the room.You continue to have hiccups, as you did while you were in the womb.
Little one, the world that you have come into and will live in is a long way from where you are right now
It is a world that is not always kind, is not always caring. So as you grow up, I want you to know that wherever you go, there is someone who will always be there. Loving you, supporting you, and caring for you.
Someone who will always make time for you, to listen and understand. Someone who is on your side, cheering you on, encouraging you as you fight the battles that inevitably lie ahead, sharing your successes and comforting you when you feel sad.
I promise I will always try to fill your days with laughter and blessings and good things
I look at you, and I see so much potential. Who knows what path you will choose? Your life is waiting to be unrolled, like a beautiful tapestry. Right now, we only see the first tentative stitches, the pattern is not yet visible to our eyes. I am so glad you have come into the world and into our lives and I welcome you with open arms and a joyful, rejoicing heart.