The Dad He Didn’t Have To Be

October 17, 2016

I don’t write about B very much. Not because she isn’t on my heart and mind just as much as the other two kids, but because she’s an adult and I want to be extra sensitive to her privacy. However, I just can’t stop myself from writing about her today, so with her permission I’d like to share a little about her relationship with her Dad.

She and I did life together as a duo for many years before I met Mark. We have a special bond because of that situation. She lived her early years without a father, so when I met Mark, it was extra special for her too. When Mark proposed to me, B was seven years old if I remember right. He fell in love with both of us and wanted more than anything to become her Dad officially, if she’d have him. That’s the kind of man Mark was. He loved B like his very own – always. There was a learning curve, of course. Things weren’t perfect at first because two stubborn and independent girls don’t easily adapt to becoming a family of three. And a 39-yr-old bachelor didn’t automatically know how to be a husband and a father all at once either. However, that man had so much love and desire to become the best family man ever that we were able to figure things out and we were all the better for it.

Early on he wanted to spend one-on-one time with B to grow their relationship. He took her on Dad/daughter dates every week. Usually they’d go out on Saturday mornings for donuts and talk. Sometimes he took her shopping at Limited Too (now Justice for Girls) where he’d spend way more money than I ever would have. I beeline towards the clearance rack only and he’d buy her the outfit on display in the window. He took her to Daddy/Daughter dances and made a special point to ring the doorbell and give her flowers. He wanted her to know how a lady should be treated. He took her to concerts and decorated his truck for her softball team’s parade entry. It was all such special time together.

When B was about ten years old, she first expressed an interest in learning to play guitar. Mark was so excited to share a common interest with her. He helped teacher her chords and later they would take lessons together. When she had slumber parties, he took so much joy in setting up his man cave as a recording studio. He arranged microphones for all the girls and let them sing their hearts out. He was the best Dad B could have ever asked for. And because of him she had the coolest slumber parties ever.

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So last weekend when B performed at a fraternity philanthropy fundraiser, I couldn’t help but think of all those precious memories. Seeing her play her Dad’s coveted Taylor guitar, singing in front of a crowd – he would’ve been so proud of her! As his illness caused him to lose his ability to play guitar and sing, it was such a consolation and comfort to him to see B playing his guitar and singing. If he couldn’t do it, at least he could enjoy his girl doing what he loved. All visitors to our home were forced to hear the many recordings of B Mark had stored in his phone. He was proud and he wanted everyone to know how amazing and talented his daughter was. As one of his former co-workers wrote in a sympathy card, “It was such a joy to see the happiness in him when he met you…and, to hear him talk about the kids, you would have thought no one else had ever had children!”

Yep, pretty much. And B was his first, which held a special place in his heart.

He also had a knack for encouraging her in a way I couldn’t. If he had worries, you wouldn’t have known it. He conveyed nothing but belief and confidence in her, especially when she hit college. He knew she would be amazing and he left the worrying to me. It isn’t that he believed in her any more than I did, but he had a wonderful, calm confidence in her. I think B and I both miss that so much.

I know he’d be so happy she’s continuing to sing and play his guitar. With graduation fast-approaching, he’d be supporting her decisions and encouraging her to believe in herself. He’d deliver guidance in a way that wouldn’t feel like an overbearing, controlling and worried parent (GUILTY!). Man I wish I could be all he was to her. But I am every bit as proud, even if I am way more annoying and need lots of extra grace.

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Here’s a couple short clips of B last weekend. I can just imagine Mark’s smile. Proudest Dad ever. He’d want you to hear her. And it’s my site and I’ll brag if I want to?

B singing It’s Strange cover: its-strange-b-judapalooza-16

B singing Say My Name cover: say-my-name-judapalooza-16

Extra Grace,

Jodi

 

 

 

 

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