Our Living History

us10 years ago, I was the customer service and marketing manager in the family print shop and Quinn and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary with a delightful party at the Joslyn Art Museum and I wore a fabulous dress. I celebrated a breakthrough in my health and was in the few “perfect weight” years of my life. (Well, to be honest, I had one singular year of perfectly healthy weight. Ah well…but this post isn’t about my body or body image, this post is about what a whirlwind time is and can be and where we’ve come from and…)

Anyway! December 2007 to 2010 were important yet seemingly invisible years of work and planning, dreaming, self-doubt, hope and just enough regret, no not regret…unrest. Yes, enough unrest to push change. Big change. From January 2007 to January 2011, I planned and created big changes in my own little world.

Kiteboy“Chance of a Lifetime”

December 2010, I announced my retirement from print and the family business. Then in January of 2011, Marcus debuted in a walk-on role on the touring Broadway stage of Mary Poppins. I frequently think of the local news starting the report with, “It is the chance of a lifetime, an Omaha man wins a walk-on role.” I think it’s safe to say, no one knew how many other “lifetime chances” this Omaha man would experience in the next six years.

No one knew how many other “lifetime chances” this Omaha man would experience. Click To Tweet

Back to me.

Pretty much all the goals and big plans I had for my own self in January of 2011 have not come to fruition. In fact, if I knew then that this 2017 I’d be “back at work” and The Innocent Prince would still be very far from the magical word: published, I’d be crushed. I’d assume the bitter sting of failure. Yet, those are only the “on paper” facts. I worked hard, learned hard, wrote hard in those five years. 

Yet, there are now and ever, the words that live. There are books, my books, past, present and future books. There is art. There are these words here.

So, it’s fair to note, I am back in the business world because I have this book problem to support. Also, in the time I was learning all of this (and so much more!) certain circumstances and the universe lead myself, and a few important others, to the conclusion that good business did, can, and does make a difference in the world. Because all I’ve ever aspired to do is change the world. And business is relationships, it’s promises kept, it’s partnerships. Good business is integrity and…well, my part in that has and can have value in both individual lives and a broader scope and, for my part, I’m not too bad at facilitating all of this.

So, where was I? Ah yes, floating between the worlds I have entered, created, maybe failed, maybe just rooted, and then maybe I will still bloom.

Let’s go back to Marcus, shall we?

In the last 6 years since his “Once in a Lifetime” he’s also, published a fabulous children’s book, he’s voiced the lead character, he’s travelled the country in support of his book, he’s been a keynote speaker, he’s been on TV (a few times) and he’s modelled on an internationally covered stage, he’s walked the red-carpet with super stars…Holy Freakin’ Cow! (Seriously that’s just a sampling.)

***Note – This blog originally published Dec 2016, I am re-posting it today, Dec 2018. All the feels are the same, just more life, WHAT A LIFE has happened since then. Including Marcus as Ambassador with the stars at the Global Down Syndrome event, spoken at the United Nations, travelled to the World Down Syndrome Congress, Oh My!) 

marcus at workWhen I began this website and  GrownUpsAndDowns.com in Feb of 2013, I wanted to show a bit into Marcus’ life as a healthy adult with Down syndrome. A bit into his day to day as he finished up school, worked his part time job, and our life together. At that time, there were no books, no international following, just us.

I started this page and gave hints into our bubble. One of the earliest shares on the website was the very gray day as I, and most everyone else I knew, mumbled through the drudgery that is January, whereas Marcus hummed on his way to work and proclaimed, “This is the life!

Looking back, Marcus was then (as he is today) the truest of pure artists.

We were well into the years of creating “Broadway List” together each weekend, and he created stories, original and offshoots, without stopping. He created then, as he does it now, for himself. He is an artist and storyteller for himself.

He creates because he loves it. Click To Tweet

Because it is who he is and he is driven to it. He doesn’t need Neil Gaimon to tell him (no matter how perfectly), he doesn’t need reminders like I do, he just creates. So, I learn and aspire to be more like him, again.

My internal editor sits on my shoulder now and reminds me, this is more of a rant than a blog, where is the call to action? Where is the moment the reader connects to our world?

The other shoulder tells me: that’s what a blog is, an online journal, here we are, let it go.

The big not-so-secret-secret is this: I am a writer. So, I write. No matter what else, just like my boy, I must let the words go. I have to release this story, my story, into the world. Maybe there is a purpose, connection, hope, a lesson – maybe not. Do I dare to call this art? Not today. Today I call it a confession, and a reflection.

Our living history, my Marcus and I.

I hope that this website, these blogs, and our journey show the depth and surprises of this life. I admit, I’m simultaneously baffled by our luck and blessings while also greedily pursuing and planning more – Can you even believe – MORE!?!

You may be sick of hearing it, but I’m not yet sick of saying it, we have learned SO MUCH over these last 6 years and though part of my world is “back to the grindstone” we are taking these lessons forward with us. Marcus has recently shared with me ambitions that I may have appreciated but didn’t actually see as, let’s say realistic, six years ago – now we both see as real, as possible.

And these are amazing ambitions!

So, thanks friends who read my rants. Thanks, family who stop in and check on us. Thanks to the so many other writers and advocates we have met and will continue to meet again. Thanks to the universe for giving me the opportunity to learn and to use and to write the words. Last week I put up a typical holiday letter, but this: All. Of. This.

All of this is what I really wanted to tell you this holiday season.

MM-old photo work

 

 

Originally posted on this linkup by Finding Ninee. 

What do you want to say this Holiday Season?  Tell me about your year!

Much Love, Mardra

What I really wanted to tell you this holiday season. Click To Tweet

2018-12-08T09:58:09+00:00Categories: Grown Ups & Downs|Tags: , , , |6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Deborah L Bryner December 11, 2016 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Mardra,
    I love that you have published the alternate version of your Christmas newsletter. So many times I’ve read these things and it seems as if all the women are Donna Reed and all the men Superman…and all the children perfect little Stepford Children. And I would think to myself, “Self, old bean…where the hell are the stories about having to bail Uncle Ralph out of jail, or how little Johnnyi s a delinquent, Dad has lost his his job and life just really kind of BLOWS sometimes?” I love the realism mixed in with celebration of the AMAZING. Thank you for sharing! So when are you and Marcus and Quinn coming to visit my imperfect little corner of the world?

    • Mardra December 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      I wish it were this year! (in the summer of course) Unlikely…unless we win the lottery. Which COULD happen.
      Thanks for your note and I forgot to mention about the bail…well, actually, this was a good year, I didn’t have to bail our a single friend or relative. Banner year, perhaps. HA! – Mardra

  2. Kristi R Campbell December 11, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    I had to smile at the whole “this isn’t a blog post” because I completely planned on talking about holiday tradition and deleted the childhood parts at the last minute, also telling myself that it’s a reflection/journal/doesn’t matter/it’s mine… I’m glad you’re one of the people I’ve gotten to know through this online thing and you and Marcus should be SO PROUD. You both will continue to do great things together and separately. Also? The whole integrity in business thing is HUGE. Imagine if our (cough gag) future world leader believed in changing the world for the better???

    • Mardra December 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm - Reply

      Ah yes, we are kindred spirits No Doubt!

  3. BTLong December 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    You amaze.

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