What does “missing markers” mean anyway?

You have always wanted to be an artist and it is finally happening for you! You just laid out your best construction paper. You have a picture in mind. You are inspired. You pull out your brand new box of colored markers. You are ready to begin.

Imagine your surprise when you find that your box of markers is missing the two colors that you use the most. Colors that most people would say are essential. Dig deeper into your imagination and imagine a world where you only get ONE box of markers. There are no exchanges. Actually, you are so attached to this box of markers that you would never ever think of trying to return it anyway.  You will have to work with what you have.  This box of markers may not be perfect, but it is YOUR box.

This is how it felt the first time I realized my daughter, Dinah, had missed a developmental milestone.  She was one years old and had not ever rolled or crawled. Actually 1 years old was around the time she first started to hold her head up on her own.  She hit two years old and not only had she never walked, but she also could not talk. We were missing some major markers.

Let me cue you in on the back story. Dinah was born when I was 24 weeks pregnant.   This was completely unexpected.  I woke up that morning with severe abdominal pain. I kept trying to rationalize that maybe it was Braxton hicks or just normal growing pains.  Not even an hour later, the pain became unbearable. I felt like someone was squeezing my pelvic region with thousands of pounds of pressure.  I was taken by ambulance to the emergency department of Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Michigan.  I felt like I was in a complete daze. Several things were done to try to stop the progression of my labor.  However, Dinah’s tiny foot found hanging out of my cervix meant that an emergency C-section had to be done.  Preemie Dinah was 1 lb and 14 oz.  A ventilator breathed for her.  Lines going into her tiny fragile veins supported her immature system. The neonatologists at the University of Michigan NICU gave us no hope. We signed DNR (do not resuscitate) papers meaning that if Dinah started to die the doctors would not attempt to bring her back.  We came in the next day and retracted them.  After all, she was OUR child.

Dinah is now 7 years old and the apple of our eye. Doctors told us she would not make it past 2 weeks old.  She does not walk or talk, but we have learned by trial and error to live in gratitude and happiness despite her disabilities.  We have learned (……and are still learning) to use the markers she does have to create stunning pictures.

Van Gogh's Almond Blossom

Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom

This blog will present our raw experiences and feelings. The behind the scene editor cuts of our life. And it is not always pretty, but our aim is to focus on all that is positive and life-giving.  This attracts more positive and life-giving experiences into our lives.  Our life is not defined by the markers we are missing (in fact, most days we forget we are even missing them). Our lives are defined but what we do with the markers we do have.

THIS BLOG IS FOR EVERYONE. Missing markers can apply to a vast variety of situations.  Depression. Anxiety. Loneliness. Heartache. Despair. Poverty. Limited thinking. Guilt. Feelings of powerlessness. Feeling “stuck”. Feeling like there is just something missing.  Make missing markers personal to you.

This blog will also explore the life of parenting a child with special needs.  Yeah, parenting is hard in any situation.   Having a full box of markers does not mean that creating beautiful pictures will be easier.  It does not ensure perfect pictures either.

Parenting a child with special needs can add many layers to the complexity and difficulty of parenting (rather it be financially, emotionally, mentally, etc). It means mixing the colors of the markers you do have to create the best pictures possible everyday.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea (my personal favorite) and enjoy.  Maybe we can share the tricks of mixing markers?

-Kelley

© Kelley Daniel, http://www.missingmarkers.wordpress.com, 2014 .

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9 thoughts on “What does “missing markers” mean anyway?

  1. Kelley, as I read your words chills ran own my arms. Then, tears flowed down my face. Next, my emotions and thoughts ran wild. Then I thought, this is book material. Wow! Because I am an artist I immediately thought, mix red and yellow and you’ll have orange. Mix blue and yellow and you’ll get green. Mix blue and red and you’ll have your purple. Then I thought, no!! That’s what she is saying. How do you every get orange without that yellow? Take the yellow away and make orange. It’s so easy to work with all the colors isn’t it? I want to share a pity situation. One year when I was in my late 30’s I had the worse year of my life!!!! Everything seamed to have gone wrong and was turned upside down. I lived most of that year in tears, pain and stress. It’s seemed like I could not catch a break. Finally, New Years Eve was here. I said LORD! Get me out of 19–. PLEASE!! That night I had to pick up my goddaughter for church. I was on southbound I-75. as I cut the curve just past Michelle Ave., there it was. The most beautiful brilliant multi-colored sunset I had ever seen. Seriously!! The sky was illuminated with red, orange, grey, purple, blue, white, My mouth dropped. It was like God wanted my attention. I said thank you Jesus!! Thank you Lord? It was like God said, “I am closing out this year of heartache with beauty”. I wanted to pull over and just behold the beauty of the Lord. That was a God moment for me. Although I felt like my only colors in my marker box that year was black and gray, Go showed me He still had all the colors and He could paint my tapestry any way he wished. That next year was so very different. I started looking for other colors. The colors were there! I just could not see them because of my pity party. I started making choices that did not allow “people” to hide or steal my colors. I got bold. (RED, YELLOW, ORANGE) in my thinking and actions. my tears and sadness turned to laughter. My heartache changed to joy. I made choices that made ME feel better. I started to paint again. dream again, run again, laugh again, think again, explore again, read again, write again, and rest again. And whenever I felt I was missing a color, I found the beauty in all the other colors I still had.

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  2. This was an amazing blog!!! The way you put it together was so relatable for everyone. I don’t have a special needs child. I don’t have any children period…. So I could never imagine your journey with Dinah. But you translating your experiences into the “missing markers” concept made it totally relatable for me. I definitely have “missing markers” in my life. But what I got out of this was to make the best out of the situation you’re in. It will all work itself out. It may not be what you expected or ever imagined but everything will be ok as long as you have faith. Dinah is as much a blessing to you and your husband as you all are to her! This story is excellent. I give you an A+ Lol :-)

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    • Asia, thank you so much for your feedback. I agree, everything is working itself out for the good. Dinah has inspired so many people and I am proud to be her mother. She is happy all of the time. Really, I learn so much from her. I am glad you were able to relate to the “missing markers” concept. I wanted people to know that I do not think that my life is harder than the next persons. Everyone has something that they struggle with. What matters is that we cope with live and be the victors, not the victims, in every circumstance. Thanks so much again :-)

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  3. Thank you so much, Kelley, for your warm welcome here, because “Everyone has something that they struggle with!”
    Your writing is incredibly expressive, and your story of both the good days (and minutes) and the hard ones is truly inspirational.

    Thank you for Following my blog too… particularly see this post, if you haven’t already: “Make Good Art!” by Neil Gaiman http://curvesnangles.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/make-good-art-neil-gaiman/

    Zen Hugs and Bright Blessings ~

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  4. Pingback: Dinah’s Rose Tinted Glasses | Making Masterpieces with Missing Markers

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