For those of you that have been following the saga of Grumpy, and may have seen his photo included in my overview of our Christmas memories, and might be a tad curious...
In July, Grumpy was struck as a pedestrian, after bolting across three lanes of traffic, struck in the 4th lane by a turning vehicle that did not see him. He suffered from two lost front teeth, a broken foot, and broken big toe on the same foot. He had multiple contusions on his body ( you can see a portion of them in this photo) and was hospitalized for three days.
As with all horrible incidents, there is a range of emotions. Until the day after his admission to the hospital, I had not interacted much with Grumpy for over two years. While we had assisted him in many ways over the years despite his repeated poor choices and chaotic situations, all one on one met up's had been largely between he and the Prince.
Even in the face of this horrible accident, sadly it was again shown to us that Grumpy struggles to find the line between truth and fiction. His story, because at that point we only had his side, seemed plausible, even evoked in us some rage and some sympathy. He was coming home from work, he was trying to cross traffic with his bike, it was a hit and run, no one stopped to help, and the description of the vehicle that struck him was detailed, down to the grille of said vehicle. He had called his boss, his boss said take as much time as he needs to heal, they would hold his job...
The truth, once we received the police report, laid out a very different version of the events of that afternoon. In fact, all cars did stop, in all lanes of traffic, people witnessed the event, and claimed that he had no bike, and was seen wildly sprinting out into traffic from the area of an adjacent store parking lot.
Knowing my dwarfs as I do, I had been suspect of the true version of the story from the beginning. However there was a part of me deep that wanted to believe, empathize and even care for this wayward dwarf of mine. When pressed about the truth, he did confess to making up much of the story (except for the obvious, being struck by a vehicle) He did not have a job waiting for him, he had actually quit the week before, because they wanted him to open a bank account so they could pay him. He did not have his bike, he gave/traded or sold it (still not sure) just a couple days after the Prince gave it to him, He was on the verge of loosing his housing, and his sprint into oncoming traffic was due to the fact that he thought someone was chasing him.
In the midst of all this, there was a silver lining. Part of the past year's health concerns for him (fainting, anxiety, blurred vision, hallucinations, headaches, weight loss) had in part been stemming from an acute case of Graves Disease and hyperthyroidism, which until the car accident, had been undiagnosed. When he was scooped off the pavement at the accident, his heart rate was 220, when stabilized his resting heart rate was 156. This alone caused the doctors to look into other health issues aside from the trauma from being hit by a moving vehicle. His "crazy eyes" along with other symptoms that had caused him to seek medical attention over the past year all came into view with this diagnosis.
So began my journey back into the life of Grumpy. I prayed and discussed with the Prince, that my interactions had to be limited, and that I once I started to become angry, frustrated, or felt like I was being taken advantage of by the dwarf, I was out.
Since August, we have attended many doctors visits, (for the thyroid/broken foot/ingrown toenail/ and med pick ups and drop offs) have helped him clean, help him manage his funds for food stamps, helped him transition when ejected from his stable living situation, assisting social workers in helping him qualify for social security, purchasing items for him to be able to secure a job, and are back on his "call" list when he is struggling with something. Sometimes, I ignore the calls and texts. I have to for my sanity and mental wellness. Sometimes I pass the word to the Prince who steps in and helps out, and sometimes we just have to say no.
However, what I have found is that no one gives a more sincere hug that Grumpy! That when words fail him, he is able to write from his heart about his failings and his gratefulness for our support, even as limited as it is. That at the heart of who he is, he desires to change, but is unable. He tries, but it is too hard for him to sustain. He gets caught up in his fantasy to escape his reality. While I have not a clue as to how this story ends, his or mine, they are intertwined and have been since God called me to be his momma 15 + years ago.
So how did we get this photo after years of being estranged?
Christmas is a time for compassion, for kindness, for grace, and when we are diligent, for seeing opportunities and taking hold of them.
This year Grumpy's full biological brother, Bashful, worked all afternoon and evening of Christmas Eve. Since these two dwarfs can not be together without causing issues, the Prince and I worked up a plan to invite Grumpy to Christmas Eve services, and home with us for our traditional Pennsylvania Dutch pot-pie dinner.
His gratefulness was overflowing, but at times he was as awkward as ever. His appreciation for my cooking was through the roof and he requested, even though I already planned to do so, to have leftovers sent home with him to share. He noticed the changes made to the house, he appreciated the Christmas decorations and even noticed new ones. While he was invited to stay and join the boys in some video games, we did not have any that he knew or remembered how to play, so we ended the evening a bit early.
For most of the sibling dwarfs, the appearance of the wayward Grumpy, was taken in stride. I believe that his half dwarf, Happy, was very excited to see him, and share a meal with him. The others were polite, but know that this snapshot in time is just that, until the rails fall off with the next crisis.
For the momma it was a bittersweet evening. Sweet because all but one of my dwarfs were present for literally my favorite night and event of the year! Christmas Eve and the candlelight service.
Bitter because, when we started this journey 15 years ago, we never envisioned having a homeless son, (much less a homeless toothless son). Never did we imagine that so many of our kids would grow up (but not grow up mentally) and suffer significant life events that we would not be able to shield them from or make better for them, because of their choices and their inability/refusal to do the "right" things.
We did not take this journey thinking that we would "fix" anyone, but we were hopeful that we could help them overcome their past, and equip them for a better future. Better than what you may ask. We had hoped better than their biological families, hence assisting in breaking the generational poverty cycle. It seems in the case of our dwarfs, nature wins. Which is heartbreaking for a mom.
I have learned in all this, that I was only called to be the middle of their story. I was not involved in the beginning. I am not responsible for the end.
But in the middle I have supported, coerced, enforced, encouraged, praised, corrected, reinforced, taught, prayed, circled around, cheered, cried, paid for, lived an example in front of them of what life could be like. Shared openly all my resources. Searched out new resources. Stood beside them, and advocated for them.
Now I meet them where they are, how I can, when I am able, and provide for them out of my excess when I feel led.
To some this may seem harsh. To others, they know that is a survival technique. When I stand before the Lord, I have confidence that I have done all and can (and will continue to do so) for my kids, my husband, the Prince, and for others that we love. Finding the balance along the journey and trusting in the knowledge that the Lord loves them all more than this momma ever could.
I never envisioned when I titled this blog so many years ago, how accurate the title would be.... But you just can't make this stuff up....