The Grandfather I Never Knew

December 23, 2010 at 7:36 am | Posted in Family Ties | 6 Comments
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In just a few short weeks, I will become an aunt for the first time. This is very exciting for me and my family. The first grandchild. But I have to imagine that this is a particularly important moment for my father. He will have done something his own father never did — become a grandfather.

My grandfather died seven years before I was born, four years before my brother. He had been a smoker all his life and succumbed to cancer before ever reaching 60. He left behind two sons and a widow who would live almost another 20 years and would never marry again.

My father is a very emotional and proud man. It was a common occurrence growing up to catch him swelling with pride when one of his children scored a goal in soccer, performed in the school play, got an A on a really hard test. It was common to hear him say, “I wish Daddy were here to see this,” and shake his head as if to fight the tears away.

It is true that my grandfather missed out on a lot. But for someone I never met, I feel like I knew him well and that’s thanks to my father. He kept his memory alive with stories and would always tell me how he would react as situations came up.

My favorite story of my grandfather is one where my father paints him as a true hero, and it’s hard to really see it any other way. He had done some legal work for President Hoover, who was quite grateful and told my grandfather he owed him a favor. When World War II ended, my grandfather used this favor to find any relatives who had survived the Holocaust to bring them to safety. He used this favor to save lives.

Of course, not all of the stories my father tells me are quite this triumphant, and many of them are simply intertwined in my memories and difficult to separate from memories of moments I actually experienced. I know my grandfather was a simple hard working man that, despite bad habits, loved his family. And I know he would have loved me. In the pictures I’ve seen of him I see so much of my own father it’s hard to picture him as anything other than amazing.

I’m so happy my father gets to experience meeting his first grand child, and we all can’t wait to spoil him. I plan to spend my time instilling the same kind of memories in this child so he knows what an amazing bloodline he comes from. My grandfather would be proud.

Daddy’s Little Girl All Grown Up

June 1, 2010 at 7:32 am | Posted in Family Ties | 9 Comments
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They say girls have a special bond with their fathers.  I’d be a big fat liar if I said that wasn’t true.  I am the epitome of daddy’s little girl.  Part of it probably has to do with this “special bond” theory, but another, larger part of it has to do with genetics.  I am pretty obviously my father’s daughter.  I can complete his sentences and he can mine.  We handle our problems the same way; express our feelings in similar ways.  Our minds have always been very connected.  No matter how hard of a time we may have understanding my brother and my mother, we can always understand each other.

My father is an incredibly emotional man.  Any triumph, no matter how large or small, and he gets choked up by tears by how proud he is of me.  I am equally as proud of him.  I’ve looked up to him all of my life.  To this day, I cannot make a major decision without consulting him.  Without his support, I would not have taken my first job because I was worried about the low salary; without his support, I would not have rented my first apartment because I was nervous about the high rent.  Every time I have car trouble, he gets called first.  With his support, I know I will always be safe.  I rarely got in trouble when I was young because the look of disappointment on my father’s face was enough to thwart almost any misbehavior that I could have been considering.

Daddy’s little girl is certainly all grown up now.  I pay my own bills, cook my own meals, take care of myself.  But the bond between daughter and father remains just as strong, possibly stronger.  There is no man who can top my father.

Here’s a poem I wrote for him when I first went away to college.

Watch Me, Daddy

Watch me, Daddy

As I twirl across the dance floor

Let the music take you on the ride

Watch me, Daddy

When I run to the door

I need to know what’s on the other side

Watch me, Daddy

As I run into your arms

Like in that movie, with the dancers

And lift me, Daddy

So I can fly with no harm

And still turn to you for all the answers

I watched you, Daddy

Run your heart out

Your spirit flying along side

I watched you, Daddy

And listened to you, held you

As you cried

So watch me, Daddy

When I drive away

And understand, Daddy

I’ll learn from my mistakes

And please, Daddy

Don’t cry when I say goodbye

I’ll be back, Daddy

To fly along your side

So watch me, Daddy

As I fly away

And remember, Daddy

My heart is here to stay

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