Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Charlie Trauma

In the middle of September of this year, Grumpy was jumped in the early morning hours, and beat with a baseball bat.  

This is how I learned, that if you are a victim of a violent crime/attack and your attacker is still at large, but you need medical treatment, they check you into the hospital under an alias. (Charlie Trauma) With a fake birthday (01/01/23). Makes it rather difficult for a momma to find a dwarf, in a covid world, who is about to head into surgery, but I did learn something new!  

More challenging was making heads and tails out of the "tale of woe" that lead to the attack, hospital stay, surgery and the weeks of recovery that the Prince and I assisted with. 

More than one time during this entire ordeal, I questioned how it is that Grumpy does not tire of this life on the street. Tire of his seemingly bad luck, and his inability to hold a job, stay in healthy relationships or even make strides towards getting off the streets.  I digress, that could be a post all its own. 

So in September, after yet another round of Grumpy's perpetual bad luck, the Prince and I took a deep breath and got down to figuring out how we could meet the needs of a dwarf whom, according to all recounts of this interaction, was innocent of wrong doing in this particular altercation.  

My mind was cautious.  The year before when he was hit by a car and lost his two front teeth, and was banged up with serious road rash and a broken toe, I was quick to rush to his aid, only to find out that the tale of woe was all a lie.  Well not that he was hit by a car, he was, just of the series of circumstances that he spun us leading to the accident that was the lie.  

After police reports and eye witness accounts we eventually learned the truth of that situation.  Out of that accident however we came to realize that he was struggling, and had been for a while, with Graves Disease and that this accident most likely saved his life. 

The condensed version of this September story is that Grumpy and two homeless friends ( referred to as "band of minions" from here out), was sleeping under an overhang in the local area.  When the sun came up, a neighbor came over to wake the band of minions, and encourage them to get moving.  

They responded by packing up and moving down the road.  Perhaps the group of minions did not move fast enough for this neighbor, or perhaps my dwarf did grumble a bit while walking off the property and a neighbor assumed that he was running his mouth at him (those details are still unclear) but the band of minions and my dwarf kept walking. When the man yelled at them from the porch they started running.  This man who was clearly offended by what he thought he heard from Grumpy, or the fact that they were not moving fast enough, jumped in his car, took off down the road, cut the minions off on the sidewalk, jumped out of his car, grabbing a baseball bat from the rear of the car, and promptly started beating on Grumpy.  Grumpy took several hits to the head, (resulting in stitches and a busted eye) and took the brunt of the hits on his left forearm, as he defended himself from the blows of the bat.  What broke up the beating is still unclear to me.  What I do know is that Grumpy is lucky to be alive and able to retell the tale.

An ambulance was called, Grumpy was whisked to the hospital.  Police were called, and arrive on the scene to interview bystanders and neighbors and they apprehended and arrested the man almost immediately.  The man confessed to the entire thing. 

Grumpy received stitches in his head and had a busted eye, along with an emergency surgery to repair his arm by installing a metal plate, and a few pins to hold the forearm together.   Because of covid, none of us, family, or his band of minions were able to be with him at the hospital during this time.  

The Prince and I were now faced with the uncertainty of what to do, not only with the dwarf that needed four weeks of recovery time and slew of doctors appointments to check the progress of his injuries but his band of minions that showed no sign of leaving his side. 

So we set them up at a local motel near us so that we could assist with getting Grumpy to appointments, check in on his meds, make sure that he (they) had food to eat and clean laundry.  Of course not an ideal situation, but the best option for the situation we found ourselves in.  

Grumpy has since disbanded the minions, after of few weeks of free room and board, one young man went back home to his family.  The other young woman while now is back with her family, is still close to Grumpy and helps him in many ways, like helping him find work, or keeping him on his med schedule, and making sure he gets to appointments.  Grumpy's stitches have been removed, his eye is healed as has his arm.  We rejoice that he is young and mends with relative ease.

The Prince and I have said numerous times that many of our adopted kids are "crack" kids.  Not because of the fact that their biological mother did drugs (although we have no way to be sure) but because they simply fall through the cracks.  They fell through the cracks in the educational systems in which they have been enrolled, they have fallen through the cracks in the mental health treatments that they have received, they have fallen through the cracks in regards to service available to them in this current world we live in.  All the while having fierce advocates for them in each area of their lives, not to mention a steady, consistent, unconditionally loving home environment.  It leaves on scratching their head some days. What could have been done differently, or what did we miss in this process? 

They are on the cusp of not being "special" enough to qualify for services, but too "special" to be able to function on their own in a society that requires you hold a job, pay your bills, have a bank account, keep medical appointments, shop, and do other basic adultish functions.  And because of their distaste for rules, structure and authority, they are unable to continue living in our home.

Because of this crack they land in, it propels us as their parents to continue well into their adulthood to come to their rescue, fix, resolve and assist in these areas, sometimes at nauseatum, because simply their minds are not able to comprehend, or carry out tasks that are necessary for successful independent living.  Welcome to the world of mental illness. 

I will not lie, there are days when I am not okay with this stage of their lives or my life.  While I am not sure what I thought adulthood for these dwarves would look like,  never did I imagine one that would live with the Prince and I always,  or that the struggles of the others would be so great that their best life is not at all what I had envisioned all those years ago when we eagerly welcomed them into our homes and hearts.  

Slowly, I am beginning to come to the understanding that, no matter what I wanted for them, or what my version of their success may look like, I need to be okay with who they are, and where they are in their story.  Their story is also not a direct reflection of our love and care for them.  

I trust that the Lord who brought them to us,  loves them more than we do, and that He does not make mistakes in how He knit these dwarves together.  Their uniquenesses, or "special" qualities are not a surprise to Him.  While frustrating at times, and overwhelming at times, as their parents, we are called to minister to their needs for our lifetime.  

There is a fine line between ministering to and enabling them.  We draw the line at the "cost" to us. The "cost" to us can change on any given day based on the circumstance of that day.   If it "costs" me mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually or financially to aid them, I give myself the right to not answer the phone or the text message.  To say no to the request, or to re-route them in a different direction based on our shared past and their current request.  I will not allow my life to be interrupted by their chaos, but will meet them on my schedule to aid in whatever ways the Prince and I deem acceptable.  

There are a lot of people that think we should wash our hands of this crazy and move on.  To that I reply, Christ did not wash His hands of me and my crazy.  There are days when I am sure He looks at me and just shakes His head at my stubborn, prideful self and thinks that I may never "get it".  This is my inspiration for how we love, even when those we are loving seem unlovable,  unable to express gratitude or thanks.  The Prince and I do what we do based on nothing more than our love for them each.  It is because He first loved us, that I love them, and serve them.  I may be the only Jesus that they see. My prayer is let them see Jesus in me.  

It is a work in progress.  Some days are better than others.  The Prince and I do a good job of trying to balance the trials and struggles in our own personal field of strengths.  We have not arrived, nor do we always do what we need to do with a joy filled heart.   Most days when I head out to aid or assist, it is with a heavy heart filled with more questions than answers.  It is in those moments that I try to re-focus on why we serve, why we care, and why we love them unconditionally.  

This is a saga that will continue, for my lifetime, I can't make this stuff up, but I would really like to re-write their story some days! 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Some of these things are not like the others.....

This year has been a year with many things, not like the others.  Not like the things in other years, the things in other weeks, or just things from the other day.  Due to the pandemic, family dynamics, schedules and children that are all now grown adults, life is very different this year, so why would we not expect that Thanksgiving and Christmas this year would look different too? 

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a stickler for "traditions".  I have worked exceptionally hard to sprinkle all kinds of special into our kingdom.  I am not saying other families do not have similar or even the same traditions or special things, and heck my ideas may not even be original or all that clever, but I have woven "special" things each year into the fabric of our lives. 

For example, the birthday placemat and your favorite meal on your special day. Our thankful tablecloth that we use ever year at Thanksgiving to record who is around our 12 foot table, and what they are most thankful for that year.  Which I then hand stitch to preserve the memories for years to come.  I have a 15 X 15 storage locker for all things Christmas, because I love decorating the house for the Christmas season, by room and by theme.  

I had always assumed, after my dwarves were grown, that my home and our traditions, would be what everyone stopped and planned for.  That these traditions would be held on to with as much gusto as I had placed into creating them over the years.  I am now seeing that perhaps I should have lived a little more in the moment of the years past, because it seems going forward there will need to be continual adjustments to those "original" plans.  

After all the craziness of 2020, why not have a holiday season filled with different?  I recognized that while I am a planner,  as I get older,  I like things to be the same.  My dwarves, I am recognizing, however, may require somethings to be different.   I would like to think that I am flexible and willing to make these changes, but I won't lie, it was hard this year to be flexible.  

While I loved much of this change, there were some things that I did not really enjoy. Mostly, the feeling of it not being the same as years past.  All those years ago, when I was painstakingly training myself and my dwarfs in the finer aspects of all things holiday (November through December)  and weeding through the "traditions" that would stick and the ones that would fall by the wayside, never did I envision a year where we did not all come together and celebrate and share those moments, together, under one roof, as a family.  Now I am realizing, that in much of what I do, I need to find the joy in doing it alone, and if any of the dwarves want to join in, extra benefit for me! Additionally, I can't be picky about the ones that are wiling and available to help.  If I find that I am doing something alone, and if it causes me frustration and angst, that I need to let it go for next year.  I need to make my plan, be okay with it, and if others join in all the better !  

Back to this year and our different.  Many of you know,  the dynamics of our family and home look different this year.  We have Doc and her husband local and close.  Sneezy is putting in some effort to re-engage this year, with at least myself.  Dopey is living out of state, but is enjoying an extended visit with us due to pandemic restrictions on his state. Happy is here and is going no where soon. Grumpy has been flying under the radar since early December. Sleepy is home for an extended season because of pandemic requirements at her out of state college.  Bashful finds himself spending his days at the county jail.  

As a mom to such a varied group of dwarves, I found myself in a situation this year that was less than ideal for me.  Never in all the years of raising the dwarves did it occur to me that they would not be close as adults.  Never did I anticipate that after years of raising such a different and diverse set of personalities in our home, that some are just over chaos and poor behaviors. Never could I have anticipated a pandemic, where those that are on the outer circle, I would have to treat cautiously due to potential contagiousness and different life styles.  I realized that there was no way that we were all going to be able to be under the same roof, at the same time, for this holiday season, pandemic aside.  I realized that I was going to have to be the one that was flexible, and in that realization set about attempting to make other plans, so that I could be with as many of my dwarves as I could during the Christmas season.  

I have learned that even the best laid plans, in a pandemic filled world, have to be fluid.  Baking with one dwarf that desired to do so, had to be set aside because of illness. (Not covid)  I baked when I had time and if someone could join in, they did. What a gift for this momma's heart!   As for gift exchanges, holiday meals, and gathering, again we modified and over came.  

We discussed and came up with plans for blending and combining some traditions into one day.  Christmas Eve, so that Christmas Day was free for new options.  We zoomed our church Christmas Eve service. We added a special little three year old to our group with a sleep over and activities the night before Christmas Eve.  We made a plan with family for an "open house lunch" so that we could socially distance with those that are not in our immediate bubble.  We invited friends that could not get home to their family, to be with us. We made sure Bashful had much mail leading up to Christmas, even if it meant addressing and stamping the cards and handing them out to people to send to him.  We made a plan in case Grumpy showed up.  

We shared our traditional meals.  We shredded through miles of wrapping paper.  We took photos. We worshipped together.  We prayed together.  We laughed.  We napped together.  We watched movies together. They played video games together.  We Face timed across the miles.  We shared our favorite gifts received.  The only thing we never got around to was our gingerbread houses... 

It turned out to be, okay...  none of these things were much like the Christmases of the past but still vaguely familiar.   It is my prayer, as the albeit self appointed, Chaos Coordinator of this Season, that everyone who walked into our home over the last several days left here, with full bellies, full hearts, and the knowledge that they are loved and appreciated for who they are, for their relationship in and to our family, and that above all, the reason that we in Lingle Land celebrate the season, the birth of Jesus Christ.