Krissie: Progress

Photo on 2013-02-19 at 09.46 Okay, I’d count yesterday as … well, pretty amazing. I’ll get to the amazing stuff in a minute.
I put everything into NettieD. I went 300 calories over, possibly (depends whether I used the right turkey meatball listing or not) but 1500 calories for day is a definite improvement. I went swimming. I did my writing. I got to play with Alex (for some reason I started to type Alastair – Lani gets to play with Alastair, not me). Anyway, got to play with my grandson and had a wonderful time with him. Had dinner waiting for Richie when he came in (he’s working outside, heavy carpentry work, in the bitter cold, and he’s 64 and had a heart attack already. He needs to work, but having dinner waiting really lifts his spirits).
The only thing I didn’t do is put in the time on my office, and I’m not sure what I should do. Try to add it in today, as well as my planned room. Bump each room plan ahead? I think I could throw a 15 minute into this as well as the next room (can’t remember if it’s kitchen or bedroom).
But here’s the amazing thing.
I love my son. He can be a son of a bitch (literally). He’s gone through severe drug problems starting when he was 13, including rehab and a bunch of therapeutic schools that beggared us. He came home and graduated high school, but then we had to kick him out of the house (awful, awful time). He’s got severe learning disabilities that are pretty much invisible because they’re not verbal. He simply can’t do math at all. When I first took him to be tested (at 6 years old) the horrible woman who did the testing said “You knew something was really wrong, didn’t you?” (I didn’t) and “At least he’ll be able to learn to read.” He was such a happy kid until school started taking its toll. He’s got severe social anxiety and has since he was very young. And he’s had a lifetime of loss — his birthmother (who didn’t want him), my nephew who played with him, his grandmother who got alzheimers, my brother whom he adored, and then recently my sister, who was his safety, and one of his best friends. He’s angry (the only thing we know about his birthfather was that “he had a wicked temper.” ) He doesn’t know how to deal with his frustrations, and he’s got so many of them. Life was easier when we had money and we could ease the path, and with his learning issues he needed advocates and the advantages money could buy. If he’d stayed in the local high school and we hadn’t been able to send him away he’d be dead. Things were that bad.)
But now he’s relatively clean and sober. And trying his best.
And my bad is over-reacting to his moods. He wakes up grumpy. A lot of people do. (For some reason Jenny doesn’t want me to sing the same lines of “All or Nothing” twenty-three times first thing in the morning.) And I immediately tense, because I grew up in a combat zone. My therapist told me to take deep breaths when it starts, and I need to remember. There was no real problem on Saturday when I freaked and decided I had to take the car and run. He was downstairs ten minutes later totally sweet.
Anyway, a couple of days ago we were talking about meds, and I mentioned what happened with the Cymbalta. I don’t know if I talked about it here, but Cymbalta is soooo not my drug. It made me suicidal. I had to stay glued to Richie to make sure I wouldn’t hurt myself one day. The next was better, and then it hit again as I was driving and I wanted to drive off the road.
I’m guessing that’s what broke through, though he’s heard the gory details of my past.
I think that he’s never really seen me as a person before. (It’s hard to see your parents as people). In fact, it’s in your mid to late twenties when you often start to.
He came up to me when I got home from swimming and gave me a huge hug and said he hadn’t realized how sick I’d been. At first I thought he meant the virus but he meant everything. He went out, and I went to my computer and he’d put a note inside my laptop saying “I love you, mom.”
And then an email telling me how he loved me and how he knew I’d done my best and how much he appreciated it. (That’s a major thing. We always resent our parents. It’s when we can finally accept that they did the best they can that we make peace with things).
And then, that night, when Erin came to pick up Alex, he chose to go with her instead of going down later in my car, so he could leave my car for me. He wants to do things for me. And I need to remember to let him.
Amazing. It’s like something finally switched in his brain. It started when I lost it completely and screamed at him in December, and now my casual discussion of meds seemed to sink in. It’s not always all about him.
There’ll be more blow-ups, of course. He’s volatile and frustrated and he’s got a hard row to hoe. But I think we’ve passed a major hurdle.
So I’m a happy camper today. I think things are going to be better. They’ve slowly, almost imperceptibly been getting better ever since he returned, but this is big.

24 thoughts on “Krissie: Progress

  1. You are such a good person. Thank you for putting up with me in the mornings when I can’t connect. I know I seem surly, but I’m still not conscious, and even so, you’re always sunny and happy while I grumble. You’re a saint.
    Just learn all the words to the songs, not two lines over and over so I won’t kill you while I’m unconscious.
    Also, hurry back. The blue chair misses you (even though it knows you’re going to drop it as soon as the LaZBoy strolls into the place).
    As for Tim, good for him, but I’ll really start trusting him when he stops yelling at you. It’s my black heart. (He’s gonna pay for that one.)

  2. Carol says:

    What a horrible thing the woman who did the testing said to you, especially the “at least he will be able to read.” How extremely rude and uncaring. At six years how are parents to know if a child cannot do math.

    Glad you are making progress and you look very happy too.

  3. Kieran says:

    Hallelujah!!! If you were down here in Charleston, SC, we’d be putting on a big ole gospel song and belting it out and dancing around clapping our hands!!!

    That IS big, what happened with Tim. I’m so happy for you both.


  4. I’m with Robena–this IS good news! And relaxed and happy is a good way to be in February, so yay you! I’m also raising my coffee mug (decaf of course!) and wishing you and all the ReFabbers a great day! {{Hugs, everyone!}}

  5. Sounds like you’re cranking out a routine and surrounded by love and revelation. Hooray for that!! The light is always there, just hard to see sometimes. Remember that light!

    I figured out last night my laptop is very sick so I’ll be taking it to the computer doc today. Good virus-busting vibes for Deloris (the laptop) please. I’ve got books to write!

  6. Danielle says:

    You see, this is why I think it is so important for parents to open up to their kids. I’ve had this conversation with many of my self-sacrificing friends whose lives seem to revolve around their kids’ needs.

    My own mother was VERY young when she found herself all alone with two toddlers, yet we always understood that she was her own person, with her own needs and desires. She taught us how to do things, but she didn’t “play” with us – we were meant to occupy ourselves (geez, there was no shortage of toys), which helped us develop some serious imaginations. She also chose to have us babysat quite often, which we accepted as par for the course. We thought it was fun! And the bonus was that we grew up knowing that she was allowed to be alone and have hobbies/friends/a social life that didn’t involve us. She didn’t befriend people with the intention of setting up play dates between us and their kids – if they had kids, great. If not, fine.

    It started young, in our case, but it’s never too late. You’re absolutely right: if you never force your kids to see you as a real/3D person, they never will. WHY WOULD THEY? They have it good, as the center of your universe. Who in their right mind would give that up?

    And you know, I would bet that this will make Tim feel better about himself: he gets to see that his parents (who you always compare yourself to, no matter what the circumstances are) are normal, fallible human beings. It puts your own struggles into perspective and makes you feel less alone, when you know that others around you need your support from time to time.

  7. Barbara Cameron says:

    I noticed a very distinct difference in my grown children once they started seeing me as an adult as well. Until then, it was all about them and I wasn’t even one of those hovering mothers. I raised them to be independent because it’s been so good for me although my parents were neglectful and not trying to teach independence the right thing. My independence came about more as a survival strategy.

    Anyway, even after you get a breakthrough of being considered a person not just a mom there may be a step forward and then a step backward but hopefully you’ll be on the right track. While your son has some challenges I think life is all about finding what you’re good at and doing your best to make it something you can make a living at. And that might be something that is creative or white collar and makes money–or not. Or it might be something you do with your hands and still make lots of money–or not. But feeling worthy and finding independence is a big key (says the mom and the college instructor and public school trained teacher).

    My dad was an artist and my mom a talented gardener and floral designer. They let us know that they deserved time to do these things and it was the best thing they did. This acknowledgment of their need for self I now see being carried forward by my children with their kids.

    Raising children isn’t easy but it’s still one of the best things I ever did. Sounds like you, Krissie, and many people here feel the same way.

  8. Truly lovely to hear you’re feeling good about things, Krissie.

    When I was raising my son, I found the Kahlil Gibran poem on being a parent and the little book called The Four Agreements helpful (the latter not the best read but has good essence). Both reminded me to deal with my son and see him and his behaviour as separate from me so I wouldn’t enmesh the situation with my own emotions. But it wasn’t always easy to do.

    The thing is, kids are people. And like all of us, they can be complicated, especially kids with lots to deal with early on. Only kids haven’t yet developed the reasoning abilities to cope with their complicated emotions and sometimes they turn to coping mechanisms that do more harm than good. That’s a tough cycle to break later on for many reasons–physically, emotionally, and mentally.

    But there is always hope. And that’s what I’m hearing in this post. And hope is a very powerful thing:)

  9. YAY!

    It took me years to appreciate my own parents (who made plenty of mistakes, and yes, my father was an angry critical SOB, but they both did the best they could at the time). In fact, it took my step-daughter hitting the teen years and going from being a sweet and loving child to a seriously troubled hellion (who was still sweet and loving, but oh, man). There was one point where I called them about once a month and said, “I’m so sorry about what I put you through when I was a teen. SO sorry.” They’d just laugh and laugh 🙂

    My step-daughter and I have always had a great relationship, but I couldn’t always help her fight her demons, and MAN, was that tough to have to sit and watch. At 31, she is finally getting her life together, and I feel like the gods have given me a gift. Even though it’s not about me at all.

    Motherhood….not for the weak of heart.

  10. Carol says:

    Krissie, this is so huge – I can’t even begin to tell you. I got to that point with my parents sometime in my twenties (they weren’t abusive, but emotionally distant, and I came to recognize that they did the best they could with the tools from their own childhoods) and am much happier for that. My oldest brother is 60, and still hasn’t had that revelation, and it has had profound and unhappy consequences on his life and familial relationships.

    Dancing for you. Really.

  11. Congratulations, Krissie! You’ve both crossed a hurdle. It won’t be perfect from here on out but the hurdles will get smaller.

    I went through hell with my nephew. Last year on REFAB, I nodded with you a lot, and even commented a few times, because our journeys were rough. When I finally snapped and showed him that my world was falling apart while I tried to support him, when he saw that he was destroying his life, and mine with it, then he snapped out of it. He’s still inconsiderate at times but that’s normal wear and tear of living with other people. He’s vacuuming the house right now. His awareness has moved outside himself to the rest of the world. I’m so proud of him. I’m happy for you and Tim. Depression is vile. No one wins, everyone loses when it comes to visit.

    One of the things that has helped me was recording One Good Thing every day. I switched my blog up from a writing focus to noticing that no matter what else, at least one good thing happens every day. Last week was one health crisis after another (with my parents, not the DNe)and I was able to cope because of my friends, laughter and knowing that the Good Wolf is being fed.

  12. Mitchiewitch says:

    Deborah – I know what you mean. When E was in her teens I would call my mother and she would laugh too and tell me that payback was a bitch. That’s when I would say that I didn’t remember being that volatile which just caused her to laugh some more.

  13. Oh, the note is just lovely, as is the consideration. It’s a step and a big one.

    And good for you for recognizing which drugs are very, very bad for you — and knowing how to fight them!

  14. Bernie says:

    So happy for you! I love it when good things happen to good people… restores my faith. Thanks for your honesty and sharing this.

  15. Micki says:

    What fabulous news! You’ve all got a long row to hoe (who doesn’t?), but it’s so nice when the mist clears for a minute, and you can really see each other and the love.

    This tells me you have found something better on the medication front, too, and it’s starting to work. Or am I reading into things?

    What a good spring into spring!

  16. Sally Mettlesome says:

    Such good news! So great that it’s o.k. for everyone to be real, and that your sharing made a difference.

    For me Cymbalta has been a miracle pain relief for fibromyalgia.

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