My good friend and colleague, Alan Klein, became a grandfather on January 3, 2014. Being a grandfather is a mission in life that Alan was meant to inhabit. The look on his face as he is holding his grandson is evidence of that fact.
This picture of Alan is reminiscent of a story he told me. The story takes place after the birth of his younger daughter Kelly. He was lying in bed, with her lying against his bare chest while she took what he thought would be a brief nap. The nap went on and on. Family members would tiptoe up to the bed and ask him if he needed a break, wanted one of them to hold her so that Alan could go about his day. His response to each was, “No, no. We’re fine. It’s ok.” I forget how long the nap lasted, but I’m thinking at least four hours. In watching and listening to Alan tell this story, it is clear that it is a memory that he relishes. An experience of pure love, of being in the moment, of knowing that there was nowhere else he would rather be.
In this picture, Alan is in a recliner in the hospital room, holding his grandson, son of daughter Becca, against his chest. Beaming. It is clear that in that moment, there is nowhere else he would rather be.
I have had the good fortune to observe Alan as a parent over the past nine years. It is one of the aspects of him that has held me to him, in a combination of respect, love and appreciation. Both of his daughters are young adults and I watch him allowing them to have their life experiences, without interfering, yet being available when asked or needed. He has them being fully who they are. And in that role, in that letting go but remaining present, he also inhabits the fullness of who he is. This time, with the additional perspective of Grandpa.