Many of you have asked about Uncle Mark and how the adjustment is going and many of you have been praying for him and us as we all adjust. Thank you. So I have written this post, rewritten it, and written it again. It is so not in my character to complain, because there is nothing in life to complain about. Every person who is reading this has at least one eye to read it with, a computer to use, electricity, probably a warm place to sit and read it. Most likely you had a warm meal today too. And if you are really blessed you had a piece of chocolate somewhere in there. =) Complaining should really be illegal, as far as I see it.
And on that note, I just never, ever want this to come across as complaining. I love having Mark here. If he were to have gone to live somewhere else, I would have felt ripped off. He is a treasure. Period. No matter what though, whenever someone comes to live in a home, from newborn to a 70 year old mentally handicapped man, there’s gonna’ be adjustments. Hear my heart……
From the time Dw and I were first married 31+ years ago, we just kind of planned that one day Mark would come live with us. We have expected it, talked about it and yes, we’ve wanted it. We are family.
Infact we built this house with five bedrooms. Of course, we have seven kids at home, so there would be an extra guest room knowing that one day Mark would be in it. Surprise! It was only empty three weeks, how crazy is that??
Mark’s handicap has him somewhere around a 5 year old. Think about most five year olds you know…..He loves attention, even craves it. He loves to talk!! He has never met a stranger. He loves to hear what people say about him. He loves to hear that over and over! (and over!). So if we go somewhere without him, he always wants to know if someone asked about him. I try to remember to mention this to friends, so they can indeed ask about him and then I can tell him that they asked about him.
He was never really required to do many chores around his home, and so he is learning to do little things around the house, like put dishes away. I have had to explain to him that we are a big family and a team and everyone on the team has to pitch in.
He never even got his own drink of water at home so he has had many adjustments. =) On a funny note…..He has had a habit of burping without saying “excuse me”….which just for the record, I cannot stand burping. It just grosses me out. Forgive me bloggy friends, if you can burp with the best of them….it just is something that I have never been into. So I have had to ask him to learn to say “excuse me” when he belches. I told him that he has to be an example to the kids. This has been a repeated learning curve and so recently I said, “Gracious Mark! You burp all the time and how is it that you never learned to say ‘excuse me’??!” He said, “You should hear Mom!” Oh my! My mother-in-law would just croak if she had heard him “tell all”. But yes, I know from first hand experience that he is not kidding. Too funny.
Mark has been lonely for his mom. He cannot talk about her without crying. It makes us cry too. No wonder – he lived with her for 70 years!! He calls her and talks to her and in a couple of months he will be able to go visit her, Lord willing.
He misses his friends in his hometown: Perry, New York. His days would consist of walking downtown and making the rounds of the stores and shops. At most stores he would get a Pepsi and often a candy bar. He had put on alot of weight. That’s not good for him. So when he came I said, “Mark I want you to live to be 100….but you cannot keep eating the candy bars and drinking the sodas to do that.” Each night my mother-in-law would give him a big dessert in the evening too.
Since coming home to our house, he usually eats a tangerine before bed and only drinks Pepsi on Fridays. He hasn’t balked about it, and no doubt he has lost weight!! It is so much healthier for him.
I found a Special Olympics ‘club’ for him and he now goes two evenings a week to play basketball. He has been over-the-moon happy about that. Jerry, Dw’s bud, set him up with some sneakers and sweat pants (I took the pics of him so you could see….he said, “you going to put it on feemale Linn?” (“Female” is how he says “email”.) He also has a new bag another friend of ours gave him to carry his sneakers in and he is soooo proud of it! (Thanks Ben!)
We can tell that he is so thrilled that after all the years of watching Dw play basketball in high school, it is finally his turn!! Sad he had to wait 70 years, huh? To our knowledge he has never had a ‘uniform’ nor has he ever played anything!! We are tickled for him. There is a chance that he can play on the official Special Olympics team from our town…….we’ll see. For now, he practices with them.
We want Mark to know how welcome he is and that he is one of ours. Last night the kids came home from Youth group and Emma, Graham and Josh were sitting in our bedroom laughing and telling us of some of the stuff that happened (which is another post for another time – hilarious!) so we called Mark to come sit in the bedroom with us all laughing and talking.
So for now, we are settling into a new normal. We are looking for a big van or bus (you think I’m kidding?) for all of us to ride in. We are running Mark here and there along with the rest of the kids. (My mom has helped with some running too! – Thank you Mom! We love you!! xo)
I cannot help but know that our kids will be blessed for having Uncle Mark live with us as they are growing up. So many people are so stinkin’ selfish in life. We pray that this breeds “others focused” instead of “navel gazing”. We pray that they always love those around them who have special needs. That they understand that Uncle Mark could be any one of us. He is a treasure and made in the image of Almighty God and we are grateful that we have the privilege of having him live with us…..long, loud burps and all.