Welcome new readers!

Mark is now 24 years old. These are the stories I would share with my Down syndrome support group, family, and friends as we journeyed on our adventure to raise Mark. Some are funny and some are bittersweet, but all are the fiber of our family history.

When people meet Mark they compliment us about what a wonderful young man he is, and add, “He must be VERY high functioning!” Every time they said  this, I give a little gasp of appreciation, but say to myself,” Good God, he did not start out that way!” Through the years friends and family have encouraged me to write Mark’s adventures down. So I did. I was suddenly relieved from my teaching career in 2004, due to a brain aneurysm.  So, with time on my hands, I wrote the stories  down  in 2006,while I was recovering and trying to reinvent myself.  This  blog set up was my Mother’s Day present from our oldest son, Ryan. Ryan is the director of DownStream Fishing, a non profit that provides a fishing experience for  children with Down syndrome.  Anyway, Ryan set it up for me and got me going. I started posting stories randomly, but have received some support from readers to stick with a loose chronology.

So it begins with “Mark was Born” and we are now posting stories from preschool years. Yes, raising Mark was difficult at times, but with the advantage of looking back, I know that God did not give us Mark to raise because he knew we could do it. Heaven can be a bore sometimes, and we were the  earthly drama/comedy channel entertainment for all heavenly beings …and those on earth too. Go ahead and laugh!

SPARKY is Mark’s nick name. Mark is now living in a group home across town, attended regular classes at his neighborhood schools with an individual aide. He left a wake of chaos, love, laughter, and bewilderment in whatever he did! He attended every single school function, field trip, school dance, including one Junior Prom and two Senior Balls . He graduated from high school without passing any math classes,  attended a wonderful after high school program called NuStep for job/ community training skills. He has worked both in his community, and in the sheltered workshop (PRIDE).  If you are raising a special needs child and feel alone out there,-stay tuned. Talk to me and I will try to coach a little bit. It is all about LOVE!  ( oops, that is such poop!)  It is all about blood, sweat, and tears. Nahhhh, its all of it!

Sincerely, Carmella Miller

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About Carmella Miller

I live in Nevada City, CA with my husband Steve. I am a retired 7th and 8th grade English, Art and Drama teacher. I thought it would be fun to share the"Markie Stories" featuring our son Mark Miller, age 24. When a parent hears they have a special needs child, grieving and isolation often follow. Maybe because we finally "got" Mark raised up, that, now we see how funny it was at times. And we definitely know how how proud we are of him and ourselves.
This entry was posted in A Mother's Diary, Down Syndrome Help, Education, Raising Down syndrome Boy, The Markie Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Welcome new readers!

  1. Carmella,
    as always your candid descriptions and heartfelt sharing of your journey with Mark are inspiring, enlightening and heartwarming. I read them at the end of a busy day with my own son (he is a officially a teen as he is wont to remind me!) and I go to sleep with a smile on my face.
    Blessings your way.

    • Blessings are much needed Griselda…Mark got popped for a bit of shoplifting at his local Safeway. He can walk downtown from the group home and we encourage him to do it. He had spending money.He is also incredibly impulsive. so the Safeway folks watched him for a week. He would pay for a purchase, and then invariably see an item near the door,and pop that into his back back too. I wish they would have scared the shit out of him the first time they saw him do it! Anyway no charges were pressed but they banned him from the store and that upset him so much, he wrote a sorry note and insisted to give it to the manager. He did such a sincere apology, the manager said he could still shop there! We were all so proud…

  2. I’ll be happy if my son turns out to be half as sharp as your boy is…that he understood and went back to make amends shows that all that blood, sweat and tears (on your part) have made an impact in his life. Rob still does not always understand that his actions offend people (peers especially), and many times he finds himself alone and isolated from the rest because they just don’t want to “mess” with his quirky behavior. Since we live in a rather closed community, I won’t know for a while, how he will interact outside of his normal environment, something I am kinda dreading…
    I like that the manager softened too…bless him! Nice to find those out there who can be more bending and understanding. Rob does warm to those who show him respect and acceptance. There is one young boy here (4 years younger but in a higher grade), who invariably comes to our home and asks to play with Rob… go figure…don’t know what he sees in him, probly that Rob is not competitive and is happy to go along and be included…still it warms a mothers heart when our child is accepted, quirks an’ all.

    • Hi Bri, I think I sent my reply accidentally unfinished. I wanted to say: with his impassivity, the note writing habit did not change his behaviors, but made him sensitive to how others saw him or thought of him. For me, this was the blessing- that he had more self awareness of who he could be. Now, at 24, he still finds himself in “social jams” but he has an outlet to make thiings “right.” And yes, people love this positive action, and he glows with their praise.

    • Hi Griselda, I love your moosings blog! Will you be going to the NDSC convention in August? I would love to meet you and Rob.

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