Krissie: All About Me Tuesday

This is my hair when I crawl out of bed and have had my cpap machine on. I kind of like it.
Okay, as Warren Zevon would say, send lawyers, guns and money, the shit has hit the fan. The on again off again relationship between my son and his fiancee is kaput. Seriously. She moved out. He moved out. They’re both grieving, but they can’t live together any more.
And this is about them, I know it. But you know, fuck that. Today it’s all about me.
I’m hurting. I’ve spent my life looking for family, grabbing it wherever I could. Since my parents were lousy at it (and my father dead when I was 21) I turned to my aunts and uncles and adored them. When I married Richie I reached out for his family and loved them — his aunts and uncles and grandparents. Before I adopted my children I would take on anyone else’s. I helped raise my niece and nephew, I took on other people’s kids just for the pleasure of it.
And my son’s wonderful GF came with the sweetest child in the world, plus a huge, French-Canadian family. I was so looking forward to the wedding, with music and laughter and tourtiere. And now I’ve lost it. I imagine I’ll lose Alex too, but I hope that will be gradual. But it still won’t be the same.
So I’m running away. I’m abandoning Richie, with his blessing, but I know I’m leaving him alone on the front line.
Okay, tell me I’m not doing the same thing my mother did. I was sixteen years old and I tried to kill myself. They pumped my stomach and then put me in a cushy mental hospital with a lot of other suicidal and druggy teenagers (I wasn’t druggy at the time). And she, feeling sorry for herself, ran off to Vermont instead of coming to see me, leaving it up to my father (who rose to the job quite wonderfully, staying sober). Am I doing the same thing to my son?
Fuck it, it doesn’t matter. Because I’ve always been there. Time and again. Our money went to his expensive therapeutic schools, we did everything we could to keep him alive through his tormented teen years. He’s okay now, even though he’s got issues. We sacrificed everything.
This time I’m not sacrificing me. This time I’m doing what I need.
Running away.
I looked at flights to OH and they were $900 to go this week. Then I went to Hotwire. I can fly there for $259, taxes included, and I’m going tomorrow. I need my sisters, and I need to take care of me, I need to play and work and talk and watch the river run. I need to not feel guilty about leaving Richie on the front line. I need to get the hell out of Dodge and thank God I can. I got a royalty check a little bigger than I expected, and we can afford $259.
So I’m going. With maple syrup.
Gotta tell me my mother. Gotta wash my clothes and get my pills together. Gotta organize my work. Gotta not feel guilty.
I know it’s about them, but I’m in pain. And they kept getting back together, and they still love each other, but I have to take myself out of the equation. And this might be a good thing for Alex, as long as Erin doesn’t make bad choices (which she has in the past — my son is by far the best BF she’s ever had, despite his nasty tongue).
It’s okay for a mother to grieve over a child’s breakup that’s close to a divorce, isn’t it? It’s been four years. Christmases and TThanksgivings and picnics and birthdays. I know it happens more often than not, but it’s okay for me to feel bad. I don’t have to think about everyone else this time, do I? Because I can’t fix it.
So. I’m going to have a wonderful time. We’ll eat healthy food (maybe a ritual Steak N Shake but maybe not). We’ll talk about fairy tales. We’ll eat salads and healthy things and by the time I get back there won’t be any false hope and some of the dust will have settled.
So I’m going. I’m not going to think about anyone but me. (Well, I will think about Richie and I will make duty calls to my mother).
But this time it’s all about me.

86 thoughts on “Krissie: All About Me Tuesday

  1. Ylva Hedin says:

    Great! Its about time I think!! You are doing the best thing for you all!! Good on you!!

    yes its ok to grieve, you have lost something to. So feel free to do it!!

    Im acually very very happy for you thinking of your self like this, thats the only way to help others in the end, even if it at first sight dont look like it!

    Dont feel bad, dont feel guilty!! Have fun and be happy!! 🙂

  2. Oh God! I’m so sorry to hear your dreams of family have all come to nothing. I grieve for you. Please don’t feel guilty, it’s your turn to feel nurtured and I understand the need to leave it all behind for a while. I wish you loving times in OH.
    Big Hugs…

  3. Rose says:

    Good for you for having the wherewithal to take care of yourself and give yourself what you need. I’m sorry for the turnoil you’re going through, but glad you’re going to be with your sisters. And your hair looks really good post-CPAP.

  4. Office Wench Cherry says:

    There’s a key difference between what your mother did and what you’re doing: you were a child and you tried to end your life, your son is an adult and his relationship ended. Not his life, his relationship with his GF. There’s a huge difference between abandoning your child when she needs you and removing yourself from a situation you can’t fix.

    You deserve a little fun, this has been a hellish few weeks. Go hang out at Squalor, play with the dogs and for heaven’s sake take Crusie the maple syrup.

  5. Oh, baby. Can’t WAIT!

    And you are NOT your mother. Your suicide attempt at 16 and his breakup at 24 (?) are two totally different things. Richie can handle it.

    I’ve been looking for family since I was a kid, too, and have “adopted” many people, including Fish’s family which I had to lose in the divorce. You and Crusie are MINE, forever, and I need you here, too. So think not about being selfish, but selfless, because Crusie needs maple syrup and we both need our sister. And we’re better to you than either your mother or your son, so come here and make us happy.

    (Does that help?)


  6. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Well, Krissie, sometimes you just have to take care of yourself first, so you can help with others.

    You know, it’s like the safety stuff on the airplane: put on your own mask before helping others. If you’re incapacitated, what good are you to anyone else, let alone yourself.

    Good on you, girl. Have a great time. Y’all gotta do us another discussion round like the last time and put it out for us to listen too, so we can vicariously participate!

    Big hugs!!!! Have a good flight!!!!

  7. I live in fear that my son and DIL will divorce. Not for any reason other than I adore her as the daughter I never had. They’ve been together since 2000, married for the past four years and I still have the fear. Mostly because people live a long time now and as they grow and change, so might their feelings. And it’s completely selfish because I don’t want to lose her. SIGH. Irrational.

  8. It’s absolutely normal to grieve for a broken relationship like this. I remember crying so hard when my eldest broke up with is long time law school girlfriend that my eyes were raw for days. We love them, that’s all.

    And you don’t have to be there. Go. Enjoy. Rest.

  9. Krissie, you’re doing what I think of as the airplane analogy. You’re putting the mask over your own face first. Yes, it’s okay to grieve over the loss of your son’s relationship. It is not, however, healthy for you to make yourself sick over it.

    You aren’t running away. Your son is a grown man, not a 16 year old kid. You’ve been there for him above and beyond, often at detriment to yourself. A little healthy separation is not only good, it’s essential.

    Enjoy your time at SOTR with your sisters! You’ll talk about your new book plans. The trip is also a tax deduction.

  10. Kieran says:

    Krissie, go get what you need, and I hope you have a wonderful time. You deserve to take care of you!!!

  11. I’m with everyone else, Krissie–go take care of yourself. Richie can handle the drama at home with Son and the break-up. He’s a good man. Lost relationships are so very hard no matter whose they are. Finding support with the people you love and trust most is absolutely the right thing to do. While you’re there, give Lani a big hug from me, okay? Travel safe, babe!

  12. Tricia Halliday says:

    Maybe he will realize that he has pushed it one too many times, since you are not there this time. Maybe a light will go on for him. Take care.

  13. Lee says:

    I agree with everyone else about how good it will be for you to get away and nurture yourself, but also want to [timidly] offer a suggestion: could Richie come too?

    He and Alastair could hang out and do guy things while you play with Lani and Jenny; there’s lots to do in this state and none of it is very far away from where you’ll be.

    And it would remove both of you from a difficult situation, and maybe strengthen the bonds between the two of you a wee bit.

    We’ve done that before, and it’s amazing what a difference a short time away, concentrating on ourselves both as individuals and a couple, has made.

  14. Your feelings make complete sense. Breakups affect everyone in the family, not just the couple directly involved. You have every right to process your own feelings about the loss, too. And a little time and space can do wonders for that. That’s not running away, that’s dealing. Sounds like a smart move to me:)

  15. I know how you feel, Krissie, and it’s awful to be in such a hurting place. I wish I was there to give you a big hug and make you some tea and just talk. But soon you’ll get all of that from your sisters, and you’ll enjoy some time away to think and to restore yourself. I’m so proud of you for leaving and for putting you first. This is a giant leap forward. (((hugs)))

  16. chris says:

    Stop it!!! you go and have your sisters take care of you. Richie seems like a good man and knows you need to go. He will be good and can kick ass if need be by himself.

    I bet you getting pampered is over due!!

    And I looked at your picture before reading and thought, wow her hair looks cute with the messy free look. (don’t roll your eyes!!)

    (I am a little confused, well more than normal. Do you have two sons? or is this the same one thinking about going to school?)

  17. So sorry to hear about the breakup and your grief. At least this time you can grieve this loss as it happens and you’re going where you need to go. Wishing you peace and comfort. (And, yes, the hair really looks great.)

  18. Go, take care of yourself! None of us want our children to suffer, and especially not the grandchildren, but you’ve learned there’s only so much you can do. So take your fabulous, tousled hair and thin face (I imagine the rest of you is slimmer, too, but we only get your face!) off to Ohio. Let the girls fuss over you. You deserve it.

  19. Everyone has waved the ReFab pom poms so I’ll just do my awkward herky jump back in the corner. (You don’t want to see that anyway.) Have a good sister-time visit. I’m the opposite in that I seem to push family away so letting go comes easier to me, but there are friends who became family at different times in my life whom I miss. So I get that part.

    Deep breaths. Pack light. Smile and know that it’ll all settle down whether you’re there or not. This is about them. Let them deal with it.

  20. Courtney says:

    Go and have fun! Take care of yourself, first. I agree with everyone else who used the airplane analogy.

    And I think your hair looks fabulous in this picture!

  21. All I know is, I’m getting my sister back for awhile. And maple syrup. You are absolutely making the right decision. Also, we miss you desperately and it’s our turn to have you.

    I always think of you as visiting Vermont anyway. You live here, or wherever we are when we’re together. So welcome home. And hurry up.

  22. Oh, Krissie. I would try very hard to still have a relationship with Alex. You both seem to have such joy in each other’s presence, and all single mothers could use an indulgent granny to help with their kids. You should be able to keep a relationship with the two of them separate from your son’s.
    And yes, your hair looks great like that.

  23. McB says:

    I think the key here is remembering that it IS about them. It’s their problem, and of course you care; but that doesn’t mean you have to lie down and let the bus run you over. That won’t fix anybody’s problem, will it? Go to Ohio and enjoy.

  24. Yes! Go visit with your sisters. And have fun! That’s an order! 🙂

    As for your son, get him into that school or something that he actually enjoys (did you say something about him liking working in the woods? can’t remember) so he can get himself into a good place. It’s really hard to function well when you’re miserable with your life. This might actually be the push he needs.

    When our children are not happy, we are not happy. So here are some {{{HUGS}}} for you.

  25. Jessie says:

    Very good decision on your part. You can’t do anything to help and other than get caught up in the dynamic between them – which sounds pretty toxic at the moment and a place where you do not need to be – you have removed yourself from the equation.

    If they are not going to work this out, then they need to not dump this on you. Both are aware that this traumatizes you, both continue to share their anger and grief with you. I feel bad for them but at this point in the breakup where the drama is intense and thier ability to have some control and not be egotistical is nonexistent, you need to be where you are centered and you do not have to live with this on a daily basis.

    Go and remember why you enjoy life.

  26. Rachel says:

    The weather is great today in Ohio and it looks like it will be for a while-so welcome and enjoy it!

    My younger brother divorced about seven years ago and I still think about and miss his ex, resent the fact that I don’t see my nephew as often as I’d like, and wish that she had the opportunity to get to know my son. Those are my feelings about it, but since I didn’t have to live in their failing relationship like they did, I have to let it go, as best I am able. And my mother is still very hurt by it, so I need to be more detached to stabilize her when she gets down. But it simply sucks, especially when there is a child involved.

  27. Just go you. You are right to get out of Dodge, look after yourself, and be with the sisters because they will have you in stitches, and if you take maple syrup, they will treat you right.

    Frankly, after real maple syrup, I have never been able to go back to fake. For a couple of years, my nogoodterribledumbass brother had the most wonderful girlfriend, from Canada, who moved to the UK for a while and lived with him. She went back every few months and always came back with two 400g cans of maple syrup for us. Oh my oh my. A while ago, pound for pound, I think maple syrup was more expensive than gold.

    Go and have a good good time.

  28. I know this is all about YOU Tuesday and that my day was yesterday, all about ME Monday, but can I share? Huh? Can I, can I?
    Today I got a contract from The Wild Rose Press. It’s for the first book in my RS desert heat series, Unlock the Truth (the third and last is, Exposure, the GH finalist book.)It will be e-pubbed first, print later in the year. I’m so thrilled that TWRP is willing to take a chance on me.

  29. Barbara Cameron says:

    I agree with everyone who said the situation with your mother not being there for you after your suicide attempt and your son breaking up with his girlfriend are not the same. You need a break and your son will be fine without you. We don’t help our children by always being there for them — sometimes they have to grow without us. I DO know how you feel about family because mine was so dysfunctional, too, that I constantly looked for family elsewhere and often felt withdrawal when I lost them. And recently I found out that my son and his wife are aboout to file for the divorce that has been a long and painful time coming. She is even taking some of my grandchildren three hours away from me. But I will find a way to stay connected to everyone.

    Tough times, Anne, but we will get through them if we remember to take care of ourselves first and not think we have to be all to our families.

  30. Maria says:

    Absolutely it is fine. It isn’t the same as your mother because your son is a grown man. You get to grieve your losses. Here’s to hoping that you can hold on to Alex, but if not, you get to know that you gave that little boy a wonderful foundation of unconditional love and support.

    Go play in OH.

  31. Jessie says:

    While it is very sad that this is happening, it takes an exceptionally mature guy to settle down to a stable relationship that lasts his entire life when he is 20 years old. It is amazing that the relationship lasted 4 years. These are the type of situations when at 38 to 48, the guy leaves his wife and children and decides he needs to recapture his youth with a woman younger than his children.

  32. I love your hair like that!

    YAY for cheap flight to Squalor!! YAY for taking care of yourself!!!

    No, you’re not your mother. And know what? No matter how much you clutch your son to your bosom as if he were still a wee child, he still has to experience HIS breakup and all of its lessons by himself, in his head. Unless you stuck a chip in there we don’t know about. So enjoy your time with your sisters and give everybody at Squalor a hug for me. Including yourself.

  33. Have a wonderful time with your sisters. Family is what we make of it. You do not have to be related by blood or legal ties. Since your son is in his late 20s, you are most definitely not abandoning your son. It is not comparable to your situation at 16. Our generation has overcompensated for our parents. Good parenting is not just being there to support our children and cushion their falls, it is sometimes encouraging and pushing them toward independence.

    Anyhow, your family is huge. Just consider all of us adoring fans as your distant cousins.

  34. Gina Black says:

    How’s this . . . I don’t think you’re running away. I think you’re going TO a particular place with particular friends who give you FABULOUS SUPPORT and that is just what YOU need right now. Nothing wrong with that. Everything right about it.

  35. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself in this horrible time. You’ll come back stronger and better able to handle it.
    I don’t know Richie but he seems able to take care of himself and things. Maybe reach out and give him some long distance love sometimes while you’re gone.

  36. romney says:

    Sorta. But if I were the son I might take this badly. You want your parents to support you, not the person/family you’ve broken up with. Needs very careful handling.

  37. Katie says:

    Dear Krissie,
    Please know that all our thoughts/prayers/good wishes are with you. I hope you have a wonderful, healing, relaxed and productive time with your sisters, knowing that it’s ok to grieve the loss of your son’s relationship.

  38. Lynda says:

    Hugs, Krissie. We went through this years ago, when my younger son’s fiancee broke off the engagement, taking her two beautiful daughters with her. It hurts like hell. You have every right to grieve. More hugs!

  39. romney says:

    Sometimes you have to get to a really low place to be able to cut your losses and move on to better things. The initial change is scary, but there’ll be plenty of chances for you to be supportive to your son in the coming months. To do that you need to be strong. Its time to recharge your batteries.

  40. Cielkaye says:

    Ditto on the hair. I have not wanted to comment on your hair before, but it did look drab and depressing. This is light and airy and takes years off your face. I hate product also but sometimes…

  41. Kathryn says:

    What everybody else said.
    The son is a grown man; you are not abandoning a vulnerable child.
    You’ve asked a couple times for self-nurturing ideas. This is what it looks like! YOU’RE DOIN’ IT, GURRLL!!
    It’s that Devo song all over. “Go forward. Move ahead!”

  42. This time I used the shampoo and stay in conditioner I got from the salon a year ago (hey, it’s like self-help books — I never open them). I really like how it worked.

  43. I did think of having Richie come too, but he’s putting the garden in, and here in VT there’s a short window of time.

  44. Jill says:

    Sister Therapy is the very best kind. Getting out of Dodge is best for all of you. Losing a dream wedding and the family that would go along with that –not so good. That will take some time and healing. Sending RIF vibes that the healing happens soon.

  45. Melanie says:

    Love the hair. Seriously good hair. And you are a good person and good people need their sisters. Your son will be all right with his dad. Your turn to grieve. Have fun at Squalor-on-River!

  46. I’ve talked with Erin (while she sobbed) a couple of times, and she agrees I get to keep Alex. And my son agrees he can’t just disappear– so he’ll be around. And they’re talking like who knows what will happen in the future. They definitely need the time away from each other. And I definitely need time away from all this.

  47. Yes, he loves working in the woods, loves to travel. Unfortunately he found his true love when he was 21 and wanting to travel, and she came equipped with an infant when he wasn’t ready to be a father.

  48. It’s true. They really shouldn’t dump on me. I’ve been trying to help, but it hurts me so much and I doubt it helps them.

  49. jinx says:

    Plus it’s a good and useful thing to demonstrate to your son that, as an adult, when life gives you lemons you can head out for a Steak & Shake, because you’re worth it.

    My mother was one of those who felt compelled to stick around For The Sake Of The Children. She didn’t work on her marriage, just complained about her husband. She tried to make over her kids in her own image, whether they wanted to be her or not. She never tired of pointing out that we should be grateful for that horrible pair of new shoes or ghastly new Sunday School dress, because SHE hadn’t had a new dress in so long she’d forgotten what it was like.

    I always wished she had, just once, shown us what it was like to go after what she wanted because it was something she loved, because learning how to make yourself happy is something kids need as much as shoes or dresses. And it bears modeling.

    So, Yay Road Trip!

  50. Mariana Chaffee says:

    Krissie, one thing to remember is that losing weight makes you emotionally fragile — really. Your blood-sugar is always a little low, you’re feeling slightly deprived, things are harder. Overwhelmed happens sooner, and those of us who eat for comfort are uncomforted. So go easy on yourself — you are already fabulous, even as you seek to become more so. You have tried heroically to solve problems you didn’t cause, to fix things that aren’t your fault. Time in Ohio will help a lot, but “the wisdom to know the difference” between what you can and cannot change will help too. It is one of the hardest lessons there is. You’re doing beautifully with your eating plan, your photos are getting more and more lovely, and I bet Richie is thrilled for and with you. All you can do is all you can do. Unfortunately, we cannot control the universe — things would be so much better managed if we could.

  51. Micki says:

    Have to comment before I read comments, but . . . don’t think of it as running away. Think of it as taking a break. Take the time to clear your head, and you’ll be a much better support system in the days to come. (And then you can let Richie run away for a little while.) It’s OK to grieve for the potential DIL you’ve lost, and future grandchildren. Grieve.

    And maybe, just maybe, there will be something else around the corner for your son. You still have your family — I should say you still have several families. Go visit your family in Ohio. It’ll be OK. Better: All will be well.

  52. Egads says:

    Krissie, I think everything you’ve been telling yourself on this is right. There is nothing you can do to help, so take care of yourself. Phones work in Ohio, you can always talk to your son and check in on how things are going if you wish. Enjoy your sisters.

    Your hair looks particularly fetching today.

  53. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Woohooo!!!!! How wonderful!!!

    Thanks for sharing. Every day is a good day for this!!!

  54. Catherine says:

    Starting with the hair, I think it works better because the length is finally near your jaw line. It’s flattering as all heck. It’s amazing what a little bit of product and scrunchiness can do…

    As for the great escape I have you super imposed over Paul Newman with the motorbike raising a fist in the air (clutching pure Vermont maple syrup) and the soundtrack playing in my mind now…surely not a bad thing?

    Sisters of the heart provide a special type of balm…In my world and I imagine yours a fairly bawdy brutally honest loving balm. Apply liberally and just breathe in and enjoy.

  55. I am surprised that so many of us can be so sure how Richie feels about this… All I know is that my husband certainly would prefer that we go away together in a situation like that because it would make him suffer just as much as me. He’d argue that we’d have to weather this out as a couple.

    But if it’s okay with him, I guess you’re doing the right thing by seeking solace with your sisters at SotR. Not every man is the same. (My piece of wisdom for today.)

  56. Catherine says:

    Just re-read my own comment and it may seem as though I’m casting aspersions to all other hair days…not my intention. Although I haven’t weighed in before I think it’s a flexible cut and am trying to convey that personally I like this tousled look the best so far. Who knows what other variations we may see after Ohio?

  57. Tracey says:

    I don’t know how Ritchie feels or doesn’t feel, but if I were he, I’d need time by myself to get away from the madness too. So I guess what I’m saying is, I’m sure that if he needed time by himself, in his own Ohio, you’d be Kool with it.

    I grew up with a large extended family 5,000 miles away. I married a man whose immediate nuclear family had lived off and on with his mother’s parents — she and her husband even lived with her folks when they were first married. Needless to say, for the first few years after Hub and I were married, every family crisis was local, and SMOTHERING. I completely understand the need to flee into the comforting arms of sisters. (Actually, looking back on it, I’m pleasantly surprised the family angst didn’t break us up; it was that bad.)

    I hope you return to VT renewed and recharged, and that your son is on his true path.

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