I still can't believe it's been five years that you've been gone. This day has been one of the hardest days for me to live through for the past five years... I'm breathing a little easier this year but it still hasn't been easy. Last night I laid in bed after Danny and Oliver fell asleep and thought of you and cried - I thought of memories we've shared, the pain I felt when we lost you, all the moments over the past five years that I wish you had been at or that I could have talked to you about. I thought about all of the lessons you've taught me and all of the ideals of parenthood that I learned from you.
Isn't it crazy that I'm going to have a baby? Your baby, your little girl - is having a baby! I know you would say that it's impossible and let me sit in your lap and mess up your hair just like I'd been doing for the past twenty plus years and say I was still your baby. Well, don't worry - I still am. I'll always be a daddy's girl til the day that I die and even then. When I frustrate mom sometimes she still calls me "Little Mike" - we really are a lot alike, especially as I've gotten older [and stayed just as stubborn] - it drives her nuts and it drives Danny crazy too! I'm definitely your daughter for better or worse - I got the good and the bad!
I hope that you'd be proud of the woman I've become over the past five years - I've done a lot of growing up and I finally feel like I'm true to myself and living the life I deserve and want. I learned a lot about marriage and relationships through you and I've tried to keep it close to my heart over the past two years and be a good wife. I'm nervous about being a parent, sometimes I feel like I can't possibly be ready but then I reflect on my childhood and all of the things that were second nature to me because of the parents that you and mom are, the value you placed on education and love and laughter. I want to instill those things into my children - I want them to read, to learn, to have one-on-one time with each of their parents, to explore, to sit in my lap and laugh. I want them to feel special, just as special as you made me feel all those years.
Danny and I decided that if we have a boy his middle name will be Carl after you - and if it is a boy, I hope he will turn out to be as great a man as you (and Danny). I wonder if you remember Danny from high school, mom did - the comedian she calls him, so if you do remember him you'd probably make some smart-ass comment about him and give him a crazy nickname like you always did. You'd like Danny though, you'd make lots of fun of him - yell at him to shave more, debate with him on politics, roll your eyes a whole lot when he talked but deep down - you'd like him, actually you'd love him. He's a smart man and one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable people that I've ever met and I know you'd respect that about him. He loves me too dad, he loves me the way you always taught me I deserved to be loved - I see it in every step he takes and every word he speaks to me, he looks at me the way you looked at mom. It's a special thing and I feel blessed to now know the love that you had explained to me all those years.
I miss you a lot dad, there isn't a day that passes that I don't think of you or talk to you - I hope you hear me up there. I carry your pocket knife with me still, the old timer - I even carried it in my pocket on my wedding day to have you with me while I walked down the aisle. You may be gone but you're living on in me, and you're going to live on in your new grandchild. They may not ever meet you but they will know you through stories, photos and the love for you that I will share with them.
I love you, 88.
88 dad, I love you forever and a day, to the moon and back.