Glenna’s Gnomes For The Holidays (Part 2)
Ok so I left you hanging… but I assure you this story is well worth the wait!
After explaining to Glenna that I had an identical set of the David & Lisa gnome ornaments she had been searching and searching for — she was so excited she could barely contain herself. We exchanged several emails back and forth and each time I heard from her I could just feel the emotional happiness that was beaming through her words and exclamation points! These wee folk meant the world to her and I was so happy to share the experience. I told her I would really love to do a “story” about this entire encounter of ours on my Blog. I explained that I believe everything happens for a reason - and her finding my site was no coincidence. I asked her to tell me a bit about her Dad and her children watching David The Gnome on TV and did she remember any specific incident she would like to share.
Glenna sent me a lovely handmade card expressing her thanks for letting the two gnomes come and live with her. She was very excited to hang them on her Christmas Tree in remembrance of her Dad who passed away this year. She sent me an email about her and her childhood memories of her Dad. Little did I know at the time the significant role these little gnomes played in her life.
This is ”her story” — a story I wrote just for her that I am honored to share with all of you.
“Glenna’s Gnomes For The Holidays”
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Glenna who grew up in a family that is much like so many other families in our world today. As a child growing up in a household with an alcoholic parent, Glenna learned important survival skills at an early age. She quickly discovered certain ways to cope with her dysfunctional family situations. While Glenna was young, she believed her way of life was “normal”. Why? Because it WAS normal – it was normal for her. The child of an alcoholic learns early how to hide the “family secret”… which in Glenna’s case was the secret of her Father’s drinking.
The child of an alcoholic learns to project a positive image to the outside world – when on the inside they are a totally different person. On the inside they are scared, angry, and often times feel all alone. On the outside they appear confident often “over achieving” to compensate for how they feel about their home life.
But Glenna was just a little girl and she had no way of knowing any of this. What she did know, was that she was extremely good at making ”excuses” for why her friends couldn’t come to her house to play, or why she sometimes had to miss important functions. When one lives with an alcoholic - it is very difficult (if not impossible) to make any type of future plans. Whether it be for the next day or the next month - one just never knows what the alcoholic will be like on any particular day. Would he be mildly drunk, just have a good buzz, or flat out mean and on his way to passing out? So, you basically make no plans at all – and you live day to day the best way you know how.
Growing up too fast
When Glenna was 8 ½ years old, her Mother had a severe stroke. And this would change the family dynamics forever. Her Mom was the one that made the household run – and she was unable to do that anymore. And while her Dad tried very hard to compensate for what Mom once did - he was just not capable of running the household. During the day he did his best to take care of her Mother and the household, but by the evening hours his disease kicked in high gear and he was off to the bars trying to drink away his problems.
What happens quite often when there are family dynamics such as Glenna’s, the child of an alcoholic does one of two things… they either become great “care takers” or they sometimes “run wild”. In Glenna’s case, she became the caretaker. Glenna didn’t get to spend much time being a little girl because she was thrust right into adulthood and responsibility. It wasn’t her fault, and she didn’t like it – but as she grew older she also realized there was nothing she could do about it. And while she realized she didn’t have the easiest childhood she also attributes that those experiences helped forge the person she is today.
Married with 5 kids
Fast forward several years and Glenna’s Mother had made a remarkable recovery after her stroke. Even Glenna’s Father started taking better care of his own health when he was diagnosed with suffering from diabetes for many years. And while he struggled with this diagnosis it served to curb his drinking and monitoring his blood sugar levels also helped even out his mood swings. But there was something else… something else that changed in him.
Glenna married a wonderful man named Steven, and they would eventually have five children of their own while also parenting many of Glenna’s nieces and nephews. As Glenna and Steven’s family grew – her parents became more involved with her children and even helped take care of them. But the most noticeable change was in her Father.
David The Gnome becomes part of the family
Each day no matter what, she remembers her Dad stopped his morning to watch “David the Gnome” with his Grandchildren. Whichever of the grandkids were there, they would clamor into Grandfather’s lap. The very lap that none of his own children had ever felt invited into. And while there were pangs of understandable envy, she marveled at the transformation of the moment, of the man. Her Father had never been able to be much of a “Daddy” to her and her siblings, but he was making a valiant effort to change all that by openly expressing his love to his Grandchildren. It’s as though he was trying to make up for lost time and he used the “David The Gnome” cartoon as a way of relating to the little ones.
The cartoon “David The Gnome” teaches children the difference between right and wrong, about helping each other. The show teaches children to respect things for what they are and to try and resolve their conflicts peacefully. Both are lessons that all kids, small or grown, would be well advised to pay attention to. Therefore, “David The Gnome” was helping Glenna’s Father too.
A special healing takes place
Even when there were no grandchildren present, Glenna would often find “Grandpa” in his chair watching “David the Gnome” by himself. Sometimes he’d doze off, but if he wasn’t asleep the Grandkids would climb up to join him. Glenna was watching her Father become the “Daddy” she so desperately wanted when she was little.
Words of wisdom from a special lady
Glenna is a very special person — I would like to paraphrase Glenna’s email now and let her sum up her story for you. She says;
“It’s been many years since that time when my children were able to crawl into Dad’s lap. In fact my oldest son will be graduating from high school this year. We’ve moved across country and as a result have had to spend less time with family. The phone call that came in June 2008 was totally unexpected. We’d been looking forward to a full summer and then a visit with the family in the fall. And with that phone call came those words my mother spoke that shattered in my ears, “Daddy’s gone”. How sad, more words I hear repeated in my dreams, repeated even when I’m not asleep, “Daddy’s gone”.
In a whirlwind of travel and arrangements, I clung to the memory of Dad and David. An occasional half an hour a day that my dad sat with my children, my nieces and my nephews to watch, “David the Gnome” and to just be Grandpa. Some men should just start off as Grandfathers…
As is tradition with my husband and children, we buy an ornament to help us celebrate the people we have loved and lost, thank you MissGnomer for helping us add David and Lisa to our homes this year. GlennaB”
What can I possibly say other than I feel absolutely Blessed to have been a part of this experience. And I want to thank Glenna from the bottom of my heart for sharing such a wonderful story with me — and allowing me to share it with all of you.
I always knew that Gnomes were special — and Glenna’s experience made me realize that there have been many other incidences where Gnomes have made a positive difference in someone’s life. So, I decided to make a separate section on my Blog called “Ask MissGnomer”. I chose that name because I usually meet a person when they have a question about a gnome. As it was with Glenna.
I would like to end my post with a bit of educational information about Alcoholism. Glenna told me that when she spoke of sending me her story about her Dad — that she had been told by other that it “wasn’t right to speak ill of the dead”. And I wanted to put her mind at ease … what Glenna wrote speaks volumes … and I don’t consider any of it to be bad or hateful.
Alcoholism is a disease
Yes, a disease — just like diabetes is a disease. People do not aspire to become an alcoholic any more than they aspire to have heart disease, or cancer. But sadly, so many people today are not educated about addiction. Be it addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling or food – many people mistakenly believe it is a “will power” issue.
These same people are also under the impression that if an addict “really wanted to”, or “just tried harder”, or “made a promise” or “thought of others more than they thought of themselves” – they would stay sober. But alas that is not the case with addiction. And sadly, addiction affects not just the person who has the disease – but it also affects the ones closest to them. Many times the ones they love the most.
However, in Glenna’s case she didn’t let her past dictate what her future would be. I wish her and her family many Blessings and good health in the years to come.