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Dad, Grandfather, and Love Languages

Steve and I dated a long time before we got married. We also spent lots of time apart, we were young and spent summers apart and had our own lives. Dad and Steve are similar in a few ways, they're both lefties, both engineers that are kind of nerdy, both into sports and building things. Once a week, he'd ask me, "Is Steve coming to visit? How's he doing? What's he up to this summer?" I think he kinda liked him, though maybe not as much as I did.

So, by the time we had our wedding, we'd gone from awkward teens to young adults with careers, wanting to buy a house and settle down. We'd each experienced our first jobs and layoffs, been through crises and losses. We'd wanted to elope, but got talked into having a wedding. I got a few minutes with my dad taking pictures and chatting before the ceremony. It was really rare for me to have alone time with him, in a family of four girls, especially when you're the middle one who's pretty self-sufficient. It's funny, because I don't remember a lot of that day, but I remember talking to him. He told me, "When I walked your sister down the aisle, she was pretty nervous. You are calm."

I replied, "There's no surprises with Steve, I know him pretty well by now. I know what I'm getting into." I think I also had Mom doing all the worrying about the wedding anyway. She was worried about the napkins not matching and the centerpieces being off, but I thought, worst case scenario I'm marrying my best friend. I didn't really care about any of the details, like napkins.

Kim and Jim on her wedding day

I know Dad and I are a lot alike. Mom used to say that's why we fought all the time. I realized once years ago his love language is acts of service, and now I know mine is too.

Fast forward a few years. Mom and Dad moved to the UK right around the time we had our first baby. Dad didn't come to the US until she was 6 months old, and I went over to Orlando to have a girls' spa day with McKenzie (a soon to be college graduate) and Mom and brought Allison. I was a stay-at-home mom, Allison had barely been out of my sight since the day she was born. Allison wasn't quite at the height of her chunkiness, since she had started to roll, but she still was quite the chubster. Here's my dad, a complete stranger, meeting us in the parking lot.

Grandpa Jim and granddaughter Allison

I hand him the stroller with my baby in it, a diaper bag and some instructions. He said, "We'll be fine," and they were off. I had a nice hour or so of getting my nails done, and then we ate lunch. Allison was happy as a clam. She sat in his lap, and smiled. I think he really enjoyed that she wasn't shy or scared. She just assumed he was a fun guy.

A couple days later, everyone came over to the beach, and I took baby Allison over to play in the December waves. I was enjoying fresh air (and planning my life around nap time) and he asked me, knowing months ago I'd been all about the job I'd been laid off from,

"How do you like being a parent?"

"It's the best."

Love you Dad.

~Kim DelTorchio

Jim and toddler Kimberly

Kim, Jennifer, Shelley, Jim and Mary Jo at Christmas

Kaufeld family portrait

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