Missing loved ones can be a difficult part of change, and I cannot explain how much I miss my family and friends back in Florida. Although I’ve been gone only a couple of months, it feels like a lifetime.


Today, as I sat at my desk working, I looked down at the paperweight next to me that stirred so many memories. This glass, heart-shaped paperweight has so many stories to tell.


My grandchildren, Emmilou, Ricky and I would sit in a dark room with a flashlight shining through this glass heart and share different fairy tales with one another. The energy, love and creativity of every version filled that room with laughter, and ended every time with me hearing, “I love you so much, Papa.”


They were convinced that the heart had magical power, and their power of persuasion made me believe it, too.


I’m not sure what I did to deserve these two kids in my life, as I never experienced a grandfather. Mine died when I was a few months old, and I have a feeling that I missed out on a big part of my life that I would have loved and cherished.


God has blessed us with family and friends who make our lives whole and, in many cases, without these folks, life can almost be unbearable. Those friends become your family, too.


Don’t take those people in your life for granted when you’re around them every day. It’s when you’re away that you realize how much they mean to you.


Believe in magical hearts, and make sure you hold on to and appreciate those in your life who make it better.


Being a “Papa” is the most prestigious title I’ve ever held, and I intend to live up to my grandbabies' “magical” expectations for as long as they will let me.


Rick Stanfield is a syndicated columnist, motivational speaker and author. For more information, visit his website at www.rickstanfield.com.