Today I’m remembering my wonderful Opa, whose Heavenly birthday is August 3rd. Nico was a gracious man of character and strength, kindness and compassion. I feel thankful for the heritage of faith and integrity he bestowed upon his family.

His life so completely impacted my own in ways I never realized until adulthood. He sacrificed so much at the age of 42 to gather his wife and four children to move to America and start over (and by that point had survived World War II in the Netherlands and unrest in Indonesia, etc. and relocated to Netherlands before moving to USA. He’d already lived a lifetime by age 42!). 

Nico set aside his own ambition to consider the opportunities and future of his four children and the generation which he hoped would come afterward (we did!)… At times I’ve felt a great responsibility to live a life worthy of their sacrifices to move thousands of miles from family and friends, to start afresh in America.

Nico demonstrated humility, kindness, and quiet fortitude. I love and miss this wonderful man! But I’m thankful for my years with him and for the lessons I’ve discovered all these years later. 

I so wish I could sit down and play a card game with him, ask more pointed questions about witnessing Operation Market Garden, surviving WWII in the Netherlands, or just linger beside him on a normal Saturday night as he made this incredible bbq chicken satay for their Rijsttafel meals. 

I carry with me his loving kindness, inner strength, tenderness, and the ability to ponder, watch, and guide my family with integrity. Honoring those who have gone before us sometimes means living well without them, but I do hear echoes of his laughter in my girls today.