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A Tribute to my Role Model

3 min

Dear Omi,

You were a one-of-a-kind best friend! In addition to my mom and dad, you were undoubtedly the person who had my back and were only just a phone call away to help out. I am thankful for you and the love you brought into my life. All of the little things added up to a whole lot and you were a second mom to our family.

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Thank you for coming early to pick me up from school, dance class, and swim practice. The tin of Starburst candy and your stories were always something to look forward to after a long day. I loved car rides in your Malibu.

Thank you for making gingerbread houses with Steph, Mitch and I. It never looked near perfect, but we always had fun making it. Life doesn’t have to always be so serious.

Thank you for forcing me to do things I didn’t want to do, like cleaning my room and eating my green beans. Green beans are now one of my favorite vegetables, and I appreciate having my possessions in order.

Thank you for sharing the joy and laughs with me. I could always count on you to make a silly animal impression or a goofy face with your tongue sticking out.

Thank you for helping to correct my grammar and when I pronounced words incorrectly. Being an immigrant, you always made such an effort to understand the English language better. You were relentless with languages and knew Dutch, English, German and French.

Thank you for showing me how to knit, even though you did it an old-school way under your armpit with long knitting needles that I never quite understood. I got the basics from you and knew you could come to the rescue if I dropped a stitch.

Thank you for acknowledging my love for being creative through my writing and paintings even though they weren’t very good. Your recognition for my effort helped to not give up.

Thank you for inspiring me to always build relationships and invest in my family and friendships — they are what can support you on the harder days. You were the most independent person I knew yet you were never lonely and enjoyed great company.

Thank you for giving me the courage to quit dance when I was too scared to stand up for what I didn’t like spending my time doing. You taught me how to be brave, when I was afraid to prioritize in my extracurriculars.

Thank you for putting up with my waterworks and my orangutan face when I was mad and having a meltdown for some pubescent reason. I needed that support through rough times.

Thank you for modeling the way and showing me how beneficial it is to have hobbies like crafts or gardening to have fun while investing your time apart from academics or work. I am still exploring my own interests.

Thank you for making reasons to spontaneously show up at the house to drop off a catalog nobody wanted to read. These were the surprises that made you most memorable for your infamous “creep creep” back massages.

Thank you for always buying me ice cream at Ashby’s on the good days and the bad. We both loved our peppermint stick flavor. If the treat wasn’t ice cream, it was Kaukauna cheese and crackers.

Thank you for talking sense to me on the big picture of life and lifting my spirits when I had tunnel vision. A negative incident, like a slower swim time or bad grade could easily ruin my day.

Thank you for always enjoying life by actually looking at the surroundings around us. I always relied on you to point out how many freighters were on the lake, when the leaves were turning color, or when the buds on trees were starting to bloom.

Thank you for having the biggest heart for animals of any shape and size. You always had a way with birds, dogs and cats. I know you are surrounded by all your past pets in heaven now.

Thank you for standing up at the dinner table to get your voice heard and make a point when no one was listening. If you had an opinion to share, you would be sure to share it.

Thank you for showing me what real authenticity is in a person no matter the circumstance. You never changed who you were at your core and weren’t afraid to say things as they were.

Thank you for sharing your Dutch culture with me. I still love learning more about it as it lets me learn more about your childhood living in the Netherlands.

Thank you for devoting endless time to sharing life with me and unconditionally loving me. You were a bit crazy, but so am I — that’s part of the fun.

I will always be your snoeperdoltje. I love you, now and forever Omi ❤(12/23/28–12/5/19)


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