Mark is extremely personable. Everyone
He also has a wicked sense of humor, often sarcastic, never hurtful. His quick wit is matched with a sly, knowing smile.
He is constantly surprising us with his determination, whether on the soccer field, playing percussion, or while running. Since moving to Florida, Mark's school schedule has put running in the forefront; he regularly competes on his school's cross country team as well as with a number of races locally -- usually a 5K or 10k, or with a half marathon. He did his first marathon at age 16 and is gearing up for his second in November.
Mark doesn't realize just how smart he is. His weak spot is math. He can be very good at it but it bores him.
He loves animals and the outdoors. Swimming, not so much. And he's not into cars -- there are far too many things out there that are more interesting.
Mark is also (pay attention here, ladies) extremely good-looking, but he is innately shy. So girls, if you are interested, you will probably have to work at it.
Christina and Walt had a hard time coming with a name for him. They were torn between "Mark" and "Thomas" (almost every other name was nixed by one of the other). They finally decided on "Mark Thomas" -- an easy decision but, as first-time parents, they hadn't considered it. "Mark Thomas" also happened to be the name of Kitty's cousin, who was killed by a drunk driver going the wrong way on a road. That Mark Thomas was also a special kind of person -- sweet, good-natured, with never an unkind thought to anyone (except Nixon, he hated Nixon). He could go anywhere in the country and one of his friends would put him up for the night. I see a lot of Kitty's cousin in my grandson. He's a person who just makes everything better.
Eighteen years ago, Mark had a very difficult birth and we came very close to losing him. There were struggles with the birth trauma but he eventually conquered all of them. And along the way he continued amazing us with every thing he did.
I keep thinking that if things had gone another way eighteen years ago, how gray the world would be now without this very special young man shining like a beacon.
Happy birthday, Mark. We love you.