Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | August 31, 2013

It has happened again …

Always be smiling ...

Always be smiling …

For the third year in a row we’re away from our daughter, Jenna, on her birthday — No. 24 this year!!

On days like today we’re reminded of the distance that separates us, yet we’re comforted by the bonds we’ve formed as a little family unit. It also helps that the memories of that special day in 1989 are so easy to recollect.

The pre-birth trip to the hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., remains vivid. The labor, the waiting, the delivery — it’s an extraordinary moment in the life of a family. As it was for us.

When Jenna arrived, she was a tiny package of dark hair and dimpled chin (just like her dad!). We counted (fingers and toes) and cried. The emotional intensity washed over us. We were in love, maybe recognizing — really recognizing — what that means for the first time. Selfless, unconditional, intense, unyielding.

We weren’t perfect parents. Not by a long shot. (We have stories.) But we did OK. And now we carry on with this new life while feeling that same pull of emotional connection. We have only one wish — to spend as much time together in the years to come as fate and good fortune allows. (See you in November, kid!)

For now, we celebrate this day — the most special day on our family calendar.

We're a small family with a lot of love.

We’re a small family with a lot of love.



  1. Great letter and photo, Mark. You cause me to realize the birthday of our kids is parents’ day. The experience before/after is more real to us than what the child can recall. I’ve been surprised to learn that our culture is actually different from many others is counting / celebrating births. Love to you and Lovely Jenna.

  2. Mark and Melody I again feel how much in common we have as families. Strange. I feel the same way as you exactly on this 31st of August, when my Mom has a birthday and I am so far away. Happy birthday to Jenna and all the best to you. I always feel your readings as expressing my thoughts too.
    Anna G

    • Anna…I feel the same thing about you (of course!).

  3. Once again, Mark, you have brought a lump to my throat. Thanks for being a great dad who raised a marvelous daughter into a wonderful young woman. I’m proud to know you three.

  4. Awww, Mark. Your writings cause tears to flow down my cheeks. A lovely accolade not just to our wonderful granddaughter but to both of you for raising Jenna to be this beautiful young person. Of course, we wish we were closer but are so happy that we can share these times this way.
    Love, mom

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