Today is Father's Day. It's an extra hard day, an extra harsh reminder that you should be here with your dad and me. I should be 32 weeks pregnant, probably looking like I'm about to pop. We should be taking super cute pictures of Dad posing with my belly to remember his first Father's Day with his little girl. Instead, his little girl is in Heaven, and we're just trying to make it through the day without too many tears. We miss you so much, Baby.
You and I are both lucky to have two of the best dads in the world. It makes me sad that not only will you never get to spend time with your dad, you'll never get to hang out with my dad, your Grandpa. Let me tell you, he's a fun guy. You would have had a blast with him. You are even named after him (his name is Steve)! That's one of the things I was most looking forward to: watching you with your Grandpa Ziemke. So many of the things I did with him as a little girl, I couldn't wait for you to do with him too, like:
- "Water Country USA." He used to turn our backyard into a water amusement park in the summers, complete with slip and slides made out of plastic garbage bags, and extreme water slides on our old swing set. I can just imagine you in a cute little swim suit, your pot-belly sticking out, running around, getting spayed with the hose in my parent's huge backyard next summer.
- "My couch." This was one of me and my brother's favorite games when we were little. Grandpa would pretend to be sleeping on the couch, and we would try to sneak up on it without waking him up. Of course, he'd always catch us in the act and yell, "this is MY couch!" while tickling us off and throwing us onto the floor. I can totally picture you trying so hard not to giggle and "wake up" your Grandpa in my parent's living room.
- Bike rides. I was so looking forward to having the same guy who taught me how to ride a bike all those years ago ("Kristin! USE YOUR BRAKES!!"), help you learn to ride your first big girl bike, too. Grandpa and your Dad are both super into bikes right now, and I know you would have gone on lots of long rides with the both of them.
- Thrift store shopping. Grandpa is the "grand master" of the art of thrift store shopping. From $1.99 golf clubs he finds at the Goodwill and sells on Ebay for $200, to $4.99 bikes he flips for $500, to about a million pairs of shoes he's found for me over the years (including 13 pairs of Doc Martins during the height of their coolness and a pair of brand new Birkenstock sandals), the deals he finds on an almost-daily basis are ridiculous. He started finding things for you, including a sweet Kelty baby carrier Dad and I couldn't wait to use, as soon as I was pregnant with you. He would have found you so many awesome things for you as you grew up, Stevie. And when you got older, I'm sure he would have passed along some of his bargain-finding skills and secrets to you.
- Singing for Dairy Queen. Starting when I was about nine or 10 years old, Grandpa would play blue-grass music in the car and buy my friends and I ice cream from Dairy Queen if we would sing along as loud as we could. There was this one song, that went something like, "If you've got the money honey, I've got the time," that I remember singing and laughing to all the time. I would have loved to be there as Grandpa bribed you into singing that song at the top of your lungs, and to see you enjoy your sweet reward afterward.
- Late night trips to Cheap-O. When I was in high school, one of my very favorite things to do with Grandpa was go into Uptown and look around at used CDs at Cheap-O. I'd always talk him into buying me one (or two or three) Cds and we'd listen to them on the way home. I bet he would have taken you there and bought you a CD or two (or three or four) when you were old enough to be into music.
- Watching stupid action movies. I loved watching "guy movies" with Grandpa growing up. Silly action movies like "Passenger 57," "Rambo: First Blood," "Die Hard," and "The Fugitive." Movies that my mom probably didn't want me watching quite yet, which is what made it so much fun. I just know he would have introduced you to some of these classics--probably before I was quite ready for you to be watching them, which is what would have made it so much fun. :)
Teaching me to ride a bike (I still can't believe I was ever allowed on this bike without a helmet! Grandma must have been out of town that day...)
Me and Grandpa last summer, doing our best awkward "Brandon face" :)
I wish you could have stayed here and gotten to know your awesome daddy and amazing grandpa. They (and the rest of our families, including your other Grandpa, Dad's Dad, who is just as amazing!) love you very, very much. Baby girl, you are so loved and so missed by so many. I really hope you know that and can feel our love.
Missing you on this bittersweet day,
Missing you on this bittersweet day,