To all my daughter’s readers, I am Stephanie’s father. Today, I am in Austin, Texas visiting her and her family. This is just the third time I have ever seen my grandchildren even though they were born just over fifteen months ago. You see, it is not always easy for families to be together. Mind you, to me there is nothing more important to me than my children. They have their own lives, and if we as parents have done our jobs well, then we must let them find their own way, without asserting what we want in our own lives.
Think of all the sacrifices people make every day. Regardless of your political views about the war–because this is not about politics–think of the sacrifices the women and men of our armed services are doing to preserve the freedoms of our country. Their families are also sacrificing very much so their loved ones can protect our way of life. Please don’t forget them.
Sacrifices must be made in life. As a parent and grandparent I am not happy that my daughter, son-in law, and grandchildren, all of whom I love dearly, live so far from me. I miss the ability to see them whenever I want…sort of a “grandparental right” I am being denied. How I would love for them to live closer so they could ask me to baby sit, or have my grandchildren sleep in my house. How I could be near to them and watch them grow. Even though Stephanie, Phil, and I are emotionally close, it is the physical vastness that separates me from having my eyes meeting the eyes of these grand children; to bond as only loving grandparents can with babies who cannot yet talk on the telephone. To hold them, to hear them coo and watch them smile when they see me, that is my right as a grandparent.
Tears come to my eyes as I write this, thinking of how in three days, I have to leave them. To all readers, surely you have people in your lives with whom you wish you could be near, but for whatever reason you cannot. And, for those of you who have all your loved ones close to you, and those who don’t, appreciate every day with them. Value your family, take nothing for granted, and appreciate all the good things. Don’t waste time being angry. Forgive silly little frictions you may have. It is not important. Anger is the most wasted emotion we have. Instead, appreciate your special times together, love your family for who they are instead of who you would rather they be. Cherish them because they are the only family you have. When they are gone, you will miss them more than you know.
I can tell you as Stephanie’s father I am so very proud of her. There are many anecdotes I could share about her drive in life, her pursuit to be the best, etc. I can tell you as a parent I would give anything to relieve the times long past. Stephanie has accomplished everything on her own. No one did anything for her. But, I’d like to feel that she is the woman she is today because of a special bond that we have and that I have as a parent nurtured, guided, and instilled values which enabled her to find her way in life. I always tried to teach her right from wrong. The rest she did on her own. I love her unconditionally as a loving parent should. So to each of her readers, as a parent I can only tell you to love your parents and family as they love you: more than you’ll ever know……that is, until you are a parent in your own right, and you watch your children grow and leave the nest. Should you be blessed to be a grandparent, you will know of what I speak. Until then, love your family, and other special people in your life: be grateful for each and every day together.