Happy Birthday to “The Gavinator”!

My grandson Gavin is one of the biggest blessings in my life. As I write this, he is on the eve of his eleventh birthday, growing out of all of his clothes at record speed. He teeters on the border between being a little kid and becoming an adolescent. He wants to be a grown up but he’s just not there yet. Sometimes he’s so good at arguing his point I think he’d make a great lawyer.

The fact that he is here at all is quite a miracle. My daughter is 29 years old as of this moment. If you do the math that would make her, yep, 18 years old at the time of his birth.

It was a big trauma initially when my daughter told me she was pregnant. I am the oldest of my sisters and female cousins and I was worried about the effect this would have on the family. I said something to my cousin Angie one time about it and she said “You showed us how to handle it”. I don’t know what I was worried about. Everyone was supportive. Thank goodness for open and loving families.

Gavin has taught us many lessons. When he was two or so, he stopped calling my husband “PAP” and started calling him Jim. He still calls him Jim. (He calls me Nana) When he was three, he overheard Jim being impatient and short with me. Gavin stopped him and said, “Jim you were not talking to Nana very nice. I think you need to say you’re sorry.” So in front of Gavin, Jim came to me and said he was sorry.

Jim calls Gavin “the Gavinator” I think because he is a powerhouse. He’s all boy. He likes to ride motorbikes, zoom on a skateboard, catch a fish. Jim loves to show Gavin how to fix mechanical things, take care of the chickens, tell a good joke. The men on my husband’s side of the family have a weird sense of humor and thankfully Gavin knows how to play along.

Gavin told me one day that Jim told him how we came to be together. In a stern voice I said to Gavin, “Tell me what Jim told you.” He said (with a grin) “Nana, you were washing your face by the side of the road one day. Jim was driving by. He stopped and said Come with me and you’ll never have to wash your face in cold water again. So you went with him and he bought you an ax to chop wood.”


I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says: Grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your children. I laugh when I read this but truly, Gavin is a big reward for hanging in there through some tough times. He is for us, I believe, the opportunity to try again, to do better, to be given another chance. And my daughter? Last year she received her bachelor’s degree. When God gives us a chance to swell up our heart, we should take it. Who knows what it will bring?

Join me on my graceful journey.

10 Replies to “Happy Birthday to “The Gavinator”!”

  1. Joanne, I still remember (very clearly) the moment you told mom and me about Gavin. I felt nothing but a sense of calmness and peace inside my soul. I truly believe it was because Gavin came into all of our lives, but particularly Michelene’s, exactly when we all needed him. He is our special angel…and continues to be so. And you did show us “how to handle it” then as you have done – and continue to do so – now with grace and wisdom when life’s lessons are their most challenging. This is your best story yet! Happy Birthday Dear Gavin!

    xoxo C~

    1. Cally, I remember your reaction and you are right, you were calm. I will never forget that. Gavin IS a special angel and I appreciate you, mom and Mary’s unwavering support! Love you!

  2. I know all the joy’s and blessings grand children bring into our lives…they are not called ‘grand’ for nothing! Jeremy was 17 when he told us his 15 year old girlfriend was pregnant. That was rough, but the first thing I did was hug this girl and say what do you want to do? Then I said this will change your life, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We will help you anyway we can. I then asked her to promise me she would not quit school. She promised, but ended up quitting anyway. Almost 8 years and 3 more children later, they are married and working through the difficulties that young married people face. They will be celebrating their 6th wedding anniversary next month. Our children make mistakes that sometimes turn into our greatest blessings! Gavin sounds like a great kid and Michelene seems to be a daughter to be proud of!
    Happy birthday Gavin!
    ~Cathy McElhaney~

    1. Cathy, Thank you so much for your comment. It is challenging and rewarding to have grandchildren so young but we wouldn’t trade them for anything, would we?

  3. Hi Joanne. Hope Gavin enjoys hls special day and continues to be the sunshine in all your lives. I think that we have to just remember that a baby may not always be in our plans but that new life is in God’s. By the way, have a blessed Easter! – Kathy

  4. Love the g’son story. My little grandson, Toby who is four is all boy also. He’s all about cars and trains and fixing things and MONSTER TRUCKS!!

    It is so funny that he calls Jim … JIM!! Toby calls me Grammus. I love it.

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