Friday, March 15, 2013

A Daddy and His Girl ~ {Happy Birthday, My Love}

"Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a Dad." ~ Anne Geddes quotes

"Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express." ~ Joseph Addison

It is Mark's 35th birthday, today.  Difficult to celebrate without his Girl, waiting for him, at home.  But, we know how very much Vienne LOVED to celebrate so we are choosing to focus on her joy, today, as much as possible.  This post is dedicated to my beloved husband and his extraordinary love for his firstborn Daughter.

Let me tell you of this Daddy and his Daughter.  

From the moment she was born he was in speechless awe and wonder.  Their precious connection was immediate and undeniable.

I have been spoiled by this incredible husband of mine, just as Vienne and Ivy have both been spoiled by a most incredible Daddy.  From the first night we spent alone, as new parents with a newborn baby to care for, Mark never once hesitated to help me in those wee morning hours to change diapers and trade off rocking her.  Even though he would rise to work in the morning, to provide for us, this selfless Dad never griped when his crazy-ballistic-under-slept-anxious wife needed his help.  He also made it his routine to wake with her when morning came so that I could catch up on a few extra hours of sleep.  This Daddy is a morning person.  

The routine of waking with Vienne for the morning turned into their special bonding time together, over the years.  When she was a baby, and we lived on the coast, he used to let her enjoy some morning "free time" or "naked time" rolling around her crib.  Later, he would take her on a walk down to our favorite local bakery for his coffee and biscuit and then head down to the beach for a regular healthy dose of those soothing waves.  This was their special routine, together.  When we moved to Portland and she was older, morning times became their creative play times.  Every morning it could be something different - play dough, tinker toys, lincoln logs, the train set, painting, and of course "throwing out" a party for all of her "friends" or toys (she called it throwing out a throwing out the garbage).  These are the most difficult times of the day for Mark, now, as he most certainly misses his morning buddy.

When Vienne was a bit older, I remember how every single afternoon, I would walk into Vienne's room at 4:30 to wake her from her nap and every single time the first words out of her mouth were:  "is Dadda home yet?".  And, sometimes she would even opt to stay in bed until he arrived.  When she did come downstairs to wait out that last half hour until he was home from work, she would often check the windows now and again, looking for him.  I know it made him beam with pride when she would see him pull up and she would open the slider to the balcony and yell to him through the railings "Hi Dad!!".  You could visibly see how moments like that made him feel oh-so-treasured.  She loved her Daddy.  

I fondly remember about a year and a half ago, in the Fall, when I hosted my lady's book club at our home.  Mark agreed to keep Vienne upstairs the whole time and play and watch movies and put her to bed each Monday night so that I could do this.  While we ladies gathered, we would always hear so much laughter coming from upstairs.  During their times up there, they decided to have dance parties together.  I remember faintly hearing music and jumping around.  And, always the next day, Vienne had a cool new move to show me.  It was the cutest thing ever.  Can you imagine it?  A Daddy having a dance party with his daughter, in her room?

Once Ivy was born, we developed a new nighttime routine where Mark would get Vienne ready for bed while I took care of Ivy.  In the beginning, I would find my inner OCD mentality momentarily in a kerfuffle when I would find Vienne in mismatched jammies every single morning.  I finally asked Mark why she never wore a matching pair together.  His reply was that he never gets to dress Vienne and have fun with that, this is his way of getting away with dressing her however he wants and it's ok cuz it's just for bed.  LOL.  It cracked me up.  My husband is color blind so when he has dressed either of the girls, it can usually be quite a comical outcome!  So, you will notice, in many of our home videos how Vienne is often dressed in her favorite green dino shirt and pink Christmas PJ pants or some other random combination. 

Mark and Vienne shared their first trip alone together, this past summer.  It is one of Mark's favorite last memories with her.  They drove up to Washington for his cousin's wedding.  It was very special for Mark's family, as well, because it was the last time they got to see her...and, for some, it was the first time they had met her.  They have been so grateful for that chance they got to fall in love with our Girl before she left this world.  I heard MANY great stories from people about Vienne at that wedding.  I guess she danced the night away!  She charmed everyone she met.  I even heard a rumor that she was the one who actually kept the party going because she wouldn't leave the dance floor...which inspired everyone else to continue joining in!  That is a night I know that Mark treasures in his heart, always.  He got to dance with his girl.

I feel that one of the cutest and sweetest things is glimpsing a father and young daughter, holding hands, and slowly walking and talking together, isn't it?  They loved to just step outside for an exploration walk together...often hunting for something like flowers or leaves or sticks or rocks, something to bring home to me.  As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, that was one of our last memories of her ~ she and Mark took a walk together the night before she died to hunt for flowers for me.  I will always always hold this precious vision I have of Mark and Vienne walking down the sidewalk, together that night before she died - she, dressed in her blue Cinderella dress and matching click-clack plastic heals, her hair pulled up into a wispy bun, and she is pointing up at the sky at something, and telling Mark all about it.  I just stood in the window and watched and marveled.  She discovered her first blue hydrangea on that walk (a flower in her favorite color!) and she was so excited to bring it home it to me.  

I cannot begin to even accurately explain how connected Mark was to Vienne and how Vienne was to her Daddy.  She was his world...everything he looked forward to coming home to in the evenings...I'm sure he looks forward to seeing me, as well...but I don't sword fight very well!  A Dad who actually truly sincerely enjoyed playing with his daughter.  And, it always seemed that his creativity had no bounds.  There is no question where her wild imagination and creativity came from! (ok ok, I might have contributed in my own way, as well!).  Mark still, anxiously rushes home from work, each evening, to spend precious hours with Ivy...especially since he now works early in the mornings and misses out on that special morning time.  Mark makes it a priority to be home when Ivy wakes from her afternoon nap...he wants every waking moment with her that he can get.  He really truly is one of the best Dads out there.  They are so blessed.  I am so blessed.

Here is a long stream of photos and a few fun videos, capturing the love between this Father and his Daughter.  

*I have NO idea why all of my text is highlighted in white..but I can't seem to fix it.  Sorry.  It makes for a difficult read.

(Mark was the only one to assist me during 90% of my labor with Vienne, as she came so quickly while we delivered at home.  He was there at the edge of the tub, soothing and encouraging me the entire way.  I think it is significant for a Father to be involved in the labor and delivery...a certain deep connection is established between himself, Mama and Baby.  Here is Daddy's first hold of his firstborn new baby Girl ~ May 1, 2008)

(this one is awesome - his face, her spit up)

(Daddy-Daughter morning time in it's early stages)

(this is an uneventful video - but it glimpses into their mellow mornings they shared in her first year.  This was Vienne's "Naked Time" - cuz what baby doesn't love to roll around neked?  Oh sweet buns.)

(I always thought it was crazy when he did this, but she always kept sooo still...with Ivy, he couldn't try this at all)

(she was about 4-5 months old here)

(crazy dad and his flying toy baby.  Nice nostrils)

(he was proud to wear her in the front um...can't you tell?!  Girls club.  haha.  He was though, he really was...proud, I mean.)

(I love the way she looks at him - 6 mo. old)

(these next 3 have always been a favorite.  They were fixing the computer together)

(telling him a story)

(checking out their work after fixing the computer)

(silly time with the computer camera)

(my silly monkeys)

(telling stories on Dadda's lap)

(oh man, they melted my heart)

(It is not an understatement to say that they were best friends)

(I wonder what they were watching...haha)

(perfection - captured by our photographer sis in law, Kinsey)

(a father and daughter, walking, talking, holding hands...)

(2 yrs. old)

(more by Kinsey - 2 yrs. old)

(sweetness captured by Kinsey - 2 yrs. old)

(Jumping on a bouncy hay-trampoline floor - captured by Kinsey)

(Mark loved finding creative ways to entertain Vienne.  I am not joking - he looked up origami and taught himself so that he could make her fun things from paper...after the hats came the birds and flowers)

(at the Christmas tree farm in 2010)

(such a patient Daddy....oooorrrr....taking advantage of a few moments to catch some snoozes while Vienne covered him up!)

(building a snowman in Cle Elum, at Christmas in 2010)

(enjoying the view on Lake Cle Elum)

("My hero did come...his name is daddy".  This is an all-time favorite, of course.  What's hard to believe is that I never even saw the sign in the window when I took this pic until we uploaded it to the computer!)

(Daddy - the obedient "Puppy" - this one is funny)

(helping Dadda blow out his crazy wild candles on his birthday in 2011)

(cool dudes)

(Daddy and the infamous sword fighting princess)

(at the Fourth of July parade in Cannon Beach)

(summer river fun...always exploring and adventuring together)

(Fall of 2011 - by Kinsey)

(on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ, summer 2011)

(resting in Dadda's arms - best times ever)

(Cannon Beach day fun in 2011)

(Mark is the most creative Dad, I swear.  Here he made a tinker toy ship to carry The Grinch doll and Max)

(just a silly no-nothing video of Mark filming Vienne - playing together in her room.  I just love this one because it records her saying "little little"...and that was something she used to say to describe so many things.  "May I please have a little little treat?" ... "T-Rex is going to play with his little little friend" ... everything "little little" cute.)

(during their special morning times, he made her breakfast.  Their favorite thing to do was to come up with something new for him to create with the pancake batter.  He made letters, numbers, people, dinosaurs, shapes...)

(with his girls - his favorite place to be, always)

(another amazing Daddy creation with lincoln logs and her wooden train set)

(March 15, 2012 - this is what awaited Mark when he got home from work, last year, on his birthday.  Vienne and I decorated the house with balloons and streamers and she dressed up in this lovely costume dress and waited for him on her trusty stead.)

(birthday kisses for Daddy)

(Father's Day hike, June 2012 - isn't she too big to be in that thing?!  Nah.  It was a fun novelty.  And, heck, she seriously only weighed 28 lbs!)

(family fun at the park, summer 2012 - isn't my family stunning?)

(As I've mentioned again and again, Mark and Vienne were brew buddies - Vienne was his ultimate beer brewing assistant.  It was difficult for him to get back into the swing of things with brewing, but once he did, he determined to name each of his batches after one of Vienne's crazy-named toys.  So far, he has a "Thixa" and a "Dooba" and a Golden Blond"Dolly")

(here, Dadda, I brought you your beer)

(a last Father-Daughter dance at cousin Brynn's wedding in August...just weeks before she passed. **breath catching**)

(this is one of the BEST and last pictures of them...beaming with such joy and fun.)

I don't know where I would be without you and I would never survive this without your continued unconditional love.  
I love you forever.

(now we have one - our precious Ivy.  And, he loves her just as fiercely and she is absolutely in love with him. <3)


  1. This is a beautiful and heart wrenching post. You are a wonderful father and husband, Mark! We love you and my heart is caught in my throat looking through these pictures. SO bittersweet. You have such wonderful memories, you surely took advantage of every opportunity to bond and play with your sweet Vienne. What a treat for you and her! I can say without hesitation that of all the little girls I know, yours have the best father! I hope I get to witness the reunion of your family when we all arrive in Eternity, cause I can't imagine a more beautiful sight.

  2. Just gorgeous .... My heart just aches for you two - such amazing beautiful parents - I'm sooo thankful for all the memories And pictures of your time together - your family is such an inspiration - we love u - happy birthday mark!!!! Wish we were there ;) xo

    1. We are thankful for all the captured memories, as well. Thankful that we are obsessed parents, in love with our babies.

      We love you guys.

  3. Dearest Wife - thank you. I will treasure this post as I treasure all things we shared with our beautiful daughter.
    I love you.

  4. As always, your words are strongly felt. I watched your videos of your sweet baby girls taking their first steps the other day, and the very first thing I noticed (okay, maybe second, first was probably how incredibly darling they both are) was Mark, and his face said it all. You can't fake that! Obviously I watched the ones of Vienne first since they were posted first. It was so obvious, of his intense love for that little girl, as well as how much she loves you both! It made my heart happy to see that in the videos of Ivy as well, even with his broken heart, how absolutely crazy in love he is with both of them. Great Daddy for sure!

    1. That is so sweet to hear. I always treasure hearing what other people notice...the little things. He is absolutely most definitely crazy in love with both of them.

      Thank you for your sweet comment, Emily.

  5. This post is definitely written with a fierce love. Reading through all the amazing things Mark did with Vienne, and still does with Ivy is so inspiring for all other daddies out there...and mommies :)
    My heart still cannot help but break for your family, but I love how everything in your present life still has Vienne in it. She is ever present in Ivy for sure!
    As always, I'm praying for peace and healing.

    1. Allie ~ I treasure all of your heartfelt comments. Thank you so much.

      I would love for Mark's love for his girls to be able to inspire other daddies! How great would that be. I hope and am sure that he does, without even knowing it.

  6. In tears through the whole post. So beautiful, your writing, but even more- their connection. A girls first love is her daddy.

    1. Yes, it certainly is. Just watching Elliott and David, here while you are treasured and so special. I am so blessed to be able to watch these brothers, with their in love they are.

  7. Beautiful post Jenny!!! Mark is a treasure of a daddy, for sure. You are blessed!! I LOVE the video of her covering him up, PRICELESS!!! You are both such amazing parents. The pictures of him throwing her in the air, and the ones of their last dance, breathtaking. TEARS!!! Praying for you kids, still!! Happy Belated Birthday, Mark!!
    *I wasn't able to watch the "puppy" video, wasn't sure it it was on my end or not.* :-)

    1. Thank you for such a sweet comment, Donita. Your encouragement and support means so much...and we don't even know each other.
      *I checked the Puppy video and it is working on my I hope that you will be able to eventually view it. It is another priceless one...pretty funny. :( :)


    2. It's working now, so cute!!! I really love the picture of Vienne on Dadda's shoulder, looking in the store window. My hero did come.....his name is daddy! :`-) I just love that!!!

  8. I just tried watching the puppy video too, and it comes up saying, "this video is private" so I couldn't watch it either. Just fyi

    1. Darn. I'm sorry about that. I was SURE I had unlocked that one. Just fixed it on my youtube account and it should be viewable now. Thanks for letting me know! Please always let me know if any of you catch these brain can be mush about the details sometimes!

  9. I waited all week for this post! Now I look at it again and again thru the day. Tears and joy. Love the recording of "little little", love the pics where V is gazing up at Mark, particularly the last few from the wedding last summer - she, looking at him as they dance and then the pic of them together, her hand placed so sweetly and securely on his arm. He is truly her hero. The love between them is so vibrant and evident.

    Mark…as a parent, what a blessing it is to be able to confidently "release" your daughter into the hands of a man you know will treasure her, care and provide for that will love her all of her days, come what may...a man you know will parent your grandchildren well and help in guiding them toward Jesus. Mark, you have blessed this Mama time and time again as I watch you caring for, and loving your family. Thank you for that. You are muched loved.

  10. I don't know what it is about this post, but I have read it multiple times. And I cry every time. I'm not sure what it is, really. Maybe it's cause I haven't heard as much from Mark on his grieving process, but these beautiful pictures of Vienne and her hero Daddy have rocked my heart to the core. It aches all over again, but in a different way. Obviously, I'm not a daddy and I can't understand the loss in the way he is experiencing it...but I can only grasp a portion of the depth of hurt he is feeling.

    I pray not only for you, but for Mark as well. Jesus is Vienne's playmate now, and as much as I wish that she was still there for Mark to play with in the mornings to play dinos with her, I know that someday, somehow, there will be joy some miraculous way. Love you friends. Soooo much.

  11. Truly remarkable. Love Love Love this!

    1. I so appreciate seeing how many people were touched by this.

  12. I realized that my post from last week never did show up. This was such a beautifully written post and so touching. I remember the times Emily and I would come to play and Mark would be home or when we would all go out somewhere fun. He is such an amazing daddy. He is so FUN, so playful and creative, and such a joy to watch with his girls. I remember watching him play with the kids and praying and hoping that one day I would find a man like that for my girl. A daddy like Mark. He is definitely one of those men that shine.
    Looking back on those fun days, we could have never fathomed this devastation that was to come. We all miss your angel girl so much. I pray for and think of Mark often, as I do for you of course my friend. Thank you, Mark, for being an inspiring daddy to watch and learn from! Happy (belated) Birthday! ~Kristel

    1. Kristel ~
      Just as I mentioned to you, yesterday, your words are always so sweet and encouraging to me. Thank you for this.
      I am so happy for you that you have finally found your Prince Charming who loves your sweet Emily just as his own.

      I will make sure to share this comment with Mark.
      I love you, sweet Friend.

  13. Jenny this is beautiful. Mark you are an amazing, inspiring father and I love re-living these stories of you and your precious girl. Love you all, Lil sis

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