On July 4, 2001, I watched my son take his very first breath. Five years later, almost to the very hour, I watched my stepfather take his last. There are many things that I could say about my stepfather but there isn't any easy or concise way to explain what he meant to me. So, I thought I would share a letter that he wrote to me on my 30th birthday. I hope the letter will show you the kind of man he was and the kind of love he showed us all. August 31, 1998
I know you don't wish to hear about it but that dreaded "30" has crept up on you just as it did with us all! Anyway, Happy Birthday with all my thoughts and love just for you!
As a stepfather, I reflect back to many, many happy thoughts of you as a small girl, the things we did together. I can still see you clearly fighting to get up on a pair of little red skis. Oh, how you cried, "I can't do this!" The lake went up about a foot from all those tears! Then, a few years later, I was so proud of you when you skied slalom. You were so determined then as you are now!
Another time, we went car shopping for your first car and came upon that very ugly duckling you named Freddy Fiat. You said, "I can't drive a clutch. I can't drive a stick shift". But, we went down on Swartz Road one evening and you drove and drove until you mastered the stick shift. This brought on even more tears.
Then came the day Mom and I drove you to a college in far away Iowa. We took all of your worldy possessions into your dorm and made small talk before letting you off by the library. We said our goodbyes and you said, "I'll be fine". As we drove off, I looked in the rear view mirror to see you walk away and, now, I can tell you it was my turn to have tears in my eyes!
As always, you have been determined to complete what you set out to do and I am sure more tears came with the struggle. I can only hope the next thirty plus years are as kind to you as they have been to me and that you will have as many good memories of the past as I have.
All my love,