guest blogger: pappa

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.



  1. Stephanie's Dad,
    You sound like a wonderful man. She is very lucky to have you & I'm sure she know it. There is a very close bond between you two that is evident. My parents are both gone now and that's very hard. I love my 3 kids and think that they are wonderful. There is never anger between us. Enjoy your visit to the fullest.

  2. Thank you, Stephanie's dad, for a lovely, touching post this morning that I'm enjoying with my cup of coffee.

    It's so true – so important to appreciate the little things about families, loved ones, and those that protect our freedoms.

    It's St. Patrick's day – and though my babies are teens, the leprechauns came in the night as always and brought green milk, lucky charms and shamrock socks. Though it's a much scaled-down version of St. Patrick's day when they were little – it's still a touch from home – a tradition that they will carry with them when they leave home very soon.

    Friday, I went to a luncheon and heard one of the most profound statements…"a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child." That about sums it up – probably works for doting dads too.

    Enjoy your trip with the family and especially the babies.

  3. Thank you for the meaningful and touching contribution to this blog.

    >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.

    Sir, allow me to respectfully point out that Stephanie and Phil made their decision to live where they do based on solid, well-informed reasons relating to their careers.

    It's okay for you to express your feelings, but be advised that they might stir up unwanted guilt.

    Perhaps, if you feel you're being denied a "grandparental right," you might move closer to them. Most likely, you are retired, or at a point in your career in which such a relocation is more feasible than it would be for them.

  4. SK's dad- that was a beautiful post and you are all very lucky to share the love that you do.

    Unfortunately, some people should have to get a license to procreate…not all parents feel as loving and have shown as much love to their children as you have to Stephanie.

    So, if even just for self-preservation at the very least, some can only "love their parents/family as they love" us by staying as far away emotionally and or physically as they possibly can.

    But, for the SK immediate and extended clan, good luck in minimizing the physical distance as much as possible.

  5. What a touching post!

    My family lives very close to me and I see them often – which means I have a tendency to take them for granted.

    Thank you for reminding me that they should be cherished. You are right – family IS the most important thing.

  6. Mr K, I love your love for your family. As someone who finally quit fighting the distance between my family and "my family" (my daughter and me) I can say that nothing is more important than allowing your child to be with family – people who love your child unconditionally – while they are growing up. I also moved away 17 years ago for career reasons and after I had my daughter 6 years ago, continued to stay in the city I had made my home, even after it became more difficult to remember why I stayed. Eventually, I surrendered to moving back to my home city – not with great enthusiasm, I might add. It has turned out to be the greatest move I have ever made. All career stuff aside, my daughter sees her grandmother most days of the week and she has uncles and aunts nearby. She is Home. It's all worth it for that.

  7. It was so beautiful and heart warming reading Grandpa Donald's emotional outburst. As a grandfather myself, I now have the words set in stone. To be able to express those thoughts and feelings to myself and others in true words, have always escaped me. Thanks Donald for being you, as I know you, a true person with much love, emotion and affection. Your children, grandchildren and other loved ones should be proud that they are in Donald Land as
    I am. with much respect and love, Your friend, Larry

  8. Stephanie's dad, you sound lovely, but I don't understand this post at all. I live in a city that I cant afford merely to be close to my parents. My parents, both close to 70, take my 2 year old on a plane alone for week long vacations without me or my husband. My mother in law visits every two months, on a teachers salary, from across the country. Where there is a will, there is a way. I hope you find both.

  9. You can officially be a surrogate Dad for all of us in blogger-land. I appreciate Stephanie's nerve in letting her family read her site. I haven't gotten the gumption up yet…

  10. I'm a single mom who moved back to California to be closer to my father — who has turned out to be The Man in my daughter's life. Today is his birthday.

    Your writing really touched me. Thank you, thank you.

  11. Truly lovely. Thank you! Stephanie (and the whole family) is lucky to have such a kind man as a patriarch:)

    That said, this timing is interesting. I just canceled a trip to see my own parents due to an unwarranted personal attack made on me. Every family has struggles but as a first time parent I was willing to ignore tensions and have my child's grandparents be a part of his life. However, some extreme negativity bubbled to the surface and simply put I can not, will not allow that to be part of my child's life as it was mine growing up. My foremost job as a parent is to protect. So, until that changes (and not foreseeable in the future) I will stand by my decision. We still have my husband's parents who are wonderful.

    One commenter already posted a similar sentiment:
    .."So, if even just for self-preservation at the very least, some can only "love their parents/family as they love" us by staying as far away emotionally and or physically as they possibly can."

    That's my exact predicament at the moment. I've done everything I can on my end. Even though I can't relate, I'm still touched by your post. Even a bit envious. How wonderful to have a such a loving grandparent.
    Lucas and Abigail will benefit so much from your involvement in their lives.
    Have a safe trip home.

  12. PS- 3 teens' mom – you sound like a fantastic parent. Very involved. I'm sure your kids turned out well because of that!
    Good for you.

  13. Very nice read- I took the military comment personal- I have a LONG family history of service,including myself and I appreciate your recognition of the troops. You sound like a very cool dad and grandpa-kinda like mine. Thanks for the reminder to call him..

  14. Thank you, Stephanie's dad. My husband, kids and I just spent the weekend with my family, only a 4 hour drive away, and they drove us crazy in the usual way. Thanks for reminding me of how lucky I am to have the crazy so relatively close by!

  15. I don't think we know how much our parents love us until we become parents ourselves. There is nothing like a parents love for their child. (And now grandchildren!)

  16. "Stephanie's Dad," what a lovely blog entry. You should have your own blog! :-)

    I hope you enjoy the rest of your time with your family, especially those edible little grandbabies. My niece is 17 months old and she and her parents live 10 hours away by car. I miss her terribly, in all the ways you described. "My rights as an aunt." But such is life, right?

    Thank you for sharing with us.

  17. Thank you for such a touching post. It truly tugged on my heart strings. That is wonderful that you have such a close bond.

    My father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last April and wasnt given much time left to live. I got chills as I read this post knowing that I won't have him in my life as long as I had hoped. Our relationship has been tumultuous most of my life, he is an alcoholic, but I have been able to forgive him. Sometimes forgiveness comes too late. I have learned to look at his life and gained a better understanding of who he is and realized that he did the best he could with what he had to face himself. It has taken me a long time to get to this place but I am glad I have, as I know that no matter what happens I have made my peace with him. Although that won't make it any easier to loose him.

    I stop by here everyday, but this post was a timely one for me…..

    Again, thanks for sharing

  18. i'm all welled up over here. seriously.

    Mr. K, please start your own blog, i'll totally read it!

  19. Thank you.
    I love my family and I can hardly imagine to live far away from them – hope I`ll never have to.
    My parents live very close to me and yes, like you`ve said, sometimes I have to remind myself that I shouldn`t take them for granted. But I am very thankful that I just have to call and they come over to baby sit. I`m always fascinated how proud they are to be grandparents.
    I wish the bond between my just 4 months old daughter and her father will be as strong as the bond between you and Stephanie.
    All the best to you and your family – enjoy every second with the little ones!

  20. Poppa Klein, I truly appreciate the love and dedication you have for your family. I too believe that in the end…this is the most important thing one has.

    In my situation I am extremely disappointed with my parents and their grandparenting style. I did not move across the country, I live in NJ. My parents live on LI. They hardly ever make the effort (without it being a major event, holiday or invitation) to see my children. And, it's not my fault they don't make the effort. I have offered many times to go out to them to make their lives easier. Many times I am turned down. "Too busy" "we have plans" "not enough time to visit" you see where I am going? My 4 year old son can't remember what their house looks like. Making time for family is a two-way street. Distance is phewy. You have to want to have these people in your life on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Where there is a will there is a way. The good news is that I am sure my grandchildren will never suffer from missing me to much. Enjoy the rest of your visit.

  21. You are so very, very right. I lost my daughter 9/4/07. She was 20. I would give everything I own, every dime in my bank account (and every penny I could ever earn, beg, borrow or steal)just to have one more day with her. She and I spent a lot of time together. More than most mom's get to spend with their 20 year old children, because of an accident, six years ago, that left her paralyzed. Still it was not enough. She underwent more than 35 surgeries during the last six years. Complications from her injuries ultimately caused her death. She never regained consciousness after the last surgery, and her dad and I had to make the decision to turn off her life support. That was the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life. Probably the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. I was holding her in my arms when she took her last breath. If God was merciful, he would have let me die that day as well. Because, what I'm doing now is not lving.

  22. When I moved away from my family to go to college, I didn't even go home for summers. I visited my parents about 4 times a year, rationalizing that there were many people who live hundreds of miles from their families and only see their own parents this often and since I was now an "adult" I should be no different. I had a few wounds of adolescence that had yet to heal.

    After college I moved again, closer, but still about 100 miles from my family. I am faced with a nearly inevitable career-related move in about 3 more years that will most likely put me much farther from the ones I love.

    I find that, now that I am married and expect to have a family of my own within the next few years, I truly wish I could spend more time with my parents and siblings. I don't regret the decisions I made, because I honestly wouldn't make them any differently given the chance. They were the right ones for me, and at the time I very much needed the space to forgive them and to grow up. But I do hope that, at some point, circumstance will allow me to be close to them again.

  23. I just recently found this blog and really enjoy it. I can really relate to this post as I too have children and a almost 9 year old granddaughter that live far away. I miss them every day. Even though we are very close and talk quite often it is not quite the same as seeing each other face to face. I know I talk to them more than many of my friends talk to their own children so I know I am blessed in that way. I am not able to travel to see them that often due to work and other children still at home and they try to come home once or twice a year. We try to make the best of it as we can and you would think it would get easier as time goes on but I find it doesn't.

    Don't get me wrong, I am very proud of my children and I raised them to believe in themselves, to follow their dreams and to find their place in the world…in fact they tell me it's my fault because I'm the one that gave them the wings to fly…just didn't know they were going to fly so far away. I know that I have taught them well and they, like your daughter have done the rest.

    I know the many tears I've shed in saying goodbye or missing them, so my heart goes out to you. I think that once your grandchildren get older it will help that they can talk on the phone to you and come for visits with you by themselves. My granddaughter got to come last summer for most of her summer vacation without her parents and it was so wonderful! We had a blast together! We are hoping to do this again this summer.

    My son is graduating from high school soon and will be moving out of state for college in June. I am not ready for him to leave me. Letting go is so damm hard when part of me just wants to hang on and make him stay home for just a little while longer. If only he was a rotten kid and then I'd be happy that he was leaving but it's quite the opposite. He like his siblings have been pretty damm good to this old mom…lol!

    I am grateful for the children and 3 grandchildren that do live here and I try hard to not take them for granted.

    I hope that the remainder of your stay with your daughter and grandchildren is wonderful!

  24. Well said! I understand completely…my parents (my son's grandparents) live in New York while my husband, son and I live in Kentucky. The (physical) distance is difficult! Thanks so much for sharing.

  25. Your words touched my heart this afternoon. I lost my dad just 3 short weeks ago. It's the memories that keep him alive today. Enjoy your time with your family. And make some memories!

  26. Welcome SK's Dad. I understand where "dad' is coming from maybe because my own parents haven't seen their grandkids in almost 2-years… they are in Florida, i'm in New England. Hubby's parents are now 3-hours south of us and they dislike it. But we did what was best for OUR immediate family. But making an effort to SEE the kids in person is important. And I'm sure there are a few thousand photos taken each week for you to enjoy from afar.
    Enjoy your visit!

  27. Don't forget about your grandparental right to accumulate sky miles and visit constantly!! As a grandchild who is still so very close to my grandparents (They 76, me 36), I will say that there is no bond like a grandparent/grandchild bond. No matter where we lived (at one point, I lived in CA, and they lived in GA), they made monumental efforts to be with me…a lot. I've still never forgotten it.

  28. So Sweet. When I had my son my Mom said that being a grandparent made her life complete. We, too, have a long distance family, but it makes those times together even more special. Enjoy the time with your grandbabies.

  29. Mr. Klein, have you considered Skype for keeping in touch? Real time video teleconferencing. I would not be surprised if Citrix has or creates something similar, as it seems right up their alley.

  30. This was a beautiful post, Mr. Klein. Thanks to Stephanie for allowing you to guest blog! I was lucky enough to know well my great-grandmother and 3 of my 4 grandparents. They were all such important people in my life and I miss them all daily. My husband and I live in DC while our parents are all out west. We don't have children yet, but hope that we will be able to move closer to them when we do. I want my own children to know and love their grandparents the way I knew and cherished mine (plus, I know I will need their help and guidance!). Even though you can't be with your daughter and grandkids every day, you can always hold them in your heart.
    Enjoy your visit!

  31. I have to chime in too and say that I am blessed with the most wonderful parents, who are also the best grandparents to my kids. They are incredibly loving, selfless, caring, and giving people. They live close to my sister and me, so we see them often, but they visit my brother's family (a 3 1/2 hour drive away) every month or two. They have very busy, exciting lives of their own, but they still make sure that each of their children and grandchildren feel special and loved every day. We all love and appreciate them so much, and we never take for granted how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

    Stephanie's Dad, I'm sure it means the world to your whole family to have you there. Have a great visit!

  32. Stephanies dad, I got to read this at the end of a trying day. And I would love to thank you for raising my spirits. You are a wonderful, kind, and compassionate person.

    I just wish that I could have had you as a father.

  33. Gordion,

    I think Stephanie mentioned a long time ago that Phil could work anywhere, and that her move to Austin also wasn't job-related.

  34. That was such a great piece of writing — my dad is still struggling with what a blog is. He doesn't quite get it!

    You should do more guest blogs. I know it's your space, but that was really cool. I also loved the one Phil did when you were in the hospital.


  35. Pappa, not that you don't know this already, but Stephanie thinks the world of you. It's so very clear every time she writes about you. What a special father-daughter relationship you both truly have.

  36. What a beautiful post, SK's daddy. My dad is one of my best friends…he's 62 and thankfully hip enough to be privy to the wonders of networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, and of course, e-mail. But we live far from each other and see each other about three times a year.

    Yours is the voice of all the proud, wonderful papas in America and for that I thank you.

    I miss my dad a little bit less after reading your heartfelt post. Thanks again and be well.

  37. What a lovely blog and as a grandparent with the luxury of seeing my grandson whenever I like, my heart goes out to you and the physical distance that keeps all of you apart.

  38. Lei: your post just broke my heart, as i sit here at my desk and cry…i'm so sorry for your loss. i'm a new mommy, my little sweet-pea is 4 months old. my life will never be the same; the love i have for this little girl blows me away…and scares the shit out of me at the same time. i'm glad you had 20 years with your daughter …and i agree with you, with regard to your reference to the putative merciful god.

  39. Lei, my heart goes out to you. My deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved daughter & I wish you strength and healing.

  40. Lei – Try your best to live. I am sure your daughter would not want you to die with her. I have also seen a lot of tragedy and I know it is difficult to keep your head above water. Anti depressants may help you – or psychotherapy, or both – or just helping someone else as often as possible. I wish you luck and I am sorry for your sorrow.

  41. That was beautiful! Thank you for sharing those warm and wise words. Stephanie, you're so lucky, blessed, to have such a wonderful Father.

  42. Mr. K – There is no substitute for living close. My grandparents were a long way across town, but close enough to visit us or vice versa every weekend. Being a more mobile society now, it's hard when your kids & grandkids are 100s or 1000s of miles away. I have co-workers from China and their parents are a 14 hour plane ride away. That's why they stay for 6 months when they come to visit. ;-) Hopefully you and your wife can take a long vacation and visit with Stephanie, Phil and the grand-beans. Or vice versa. Several times per year if you can. I know they will appreciate it especially when they are a little older. Skype or webcam-ing would be a good way to see and talk also when they are older. Take care and have a great visit.

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