So, I've been trying. I've been trying really hard. And, I've done better. Not every time, but sometimes.
I've stood outside of the front door when after getting home from work and taken a deep breath. I've reminded myself that I need to be the grown-up. That I need to appreciate these moments because they will not last forever. I need to add to them, not subtract from them.
I've been really trying to focus on what I can do differently. And, I have to take it on a case-by-case situation because, yeah, I won't get them all right.
And, it all comes down to patience. Patience. Sometimes that's the hardest thing in the world. But, I've tried. And, this has made the house a little more mellow.
But, sometimes, he gets mad at me, anyway. Sometimes, he goes on and on about whether he's getting enough xbox time or gets annoyed that I want him to try to get all of the dirt off the kitchen floor when he's sweeping.
(But, sometimes, he brings me extra dinner from the kitchen after Lizzie takes half of the food off of my plate. The girl likes to eat! And, sometimes, he comes to Daddy's work with us and simply hangs out. Sometimes, simply hanging out is nice. And, sometimes, he is super kind and gentle with his little sister and brothers.)
And, sometimes, I wake up in the morning and am grumpy as can be for no good reason. Although, learning that Antwan ate my last chocolate pop-tart felt like a good reason, at the time. My last pop-tart?!
The other night, after Brian found his glue gun on the floor because someone had knocked it off the table and didn't bother to pick it up; he started to rant. Not in a bad way, but it was a rant. And, it was a fair rant because they shouldn't do stuff like that and they are constantly doing stuff like that. The lecture covered several things like - stop obsessing about how much xbox time you get and be grateful for any at all, understand that you are fortunate to be together in a home with food, etc. But, then, he ended with a topic that I personally LOVED! ;) Appreciate your mother. (See why I loved it??)
He pointed out to them all that I do. He told them that they shouldn't fight me when I want them to go on an activity, volunteer at a camp, do a chore, dance an Irish Jig, whatever. He asked if they ever thank me for all that I do. He even pointed out that he doesn't thank me enough, either.
Now, I don't mind doing all that I do because, well, that's my job and that's cool. But, it sure was cool to hear it. Then, Lizzie, Antwan, and William started randomly thanking me as I tried not to cry.
So, the night ended. Brian thanked me, again and I went to bed, feeling a little better. I'm a fan of feeling a little better. :)
The next morning, I was heading to work. I was rushing around and trying to stay chilled, at the same time. Before I left, Kaleb thanked me for washing his socks (his hand-wash only, special socks). I said "you're welcome" and continued getting ready.
It took me a couple of hours, but then I realized what the expression "hit you like a ton of bricks" means because, it hit me like a ton of bricks that he had thanked me. He didn't complain that they were still wet or say that they should have been inside out or whatever a person who really loves his socks might say. He said thank you. So, not only had he listened to his father but he had taken the time to thank me.
Or, maybe, it wasn't thought out. Maybe he just said thank you for the heck of it. But, I'm claiming it as a major victory and a moment of great appreciation on his part! ;)
Well, in between the statement above and this one (my writing window closed), I had an argument with him because he got mad at Lizzie when they were playing xbox, mad at me for saying that xbox time was over, mad at me for telling him to wash the dish that he used, and then, subsequently, mad at me for yelling at him for angrily throwing the rug out of the house as he was doing his chore so he could go to his friend's house and get away from me because he was mad at me. It was a busy 10 minutes.
So, that sucked. But, I have to live in the small moments. I managed to mostly keep my cool during the incident. He came back from his friend's and apologized with no prompting. (And, that's really all that I can ask, right?) When I vented on facebook, all my friends empathized and supported me. And, I have been patient with him all day today. Ok, maybe he went to the beach with his friend at 10am, but, it counts, right? Tell me that it counts!! ;)
So, my writing window closed again! Between then and now, one more thing happened....
A reader turned facebook friend turned support system messaged me after I posted a vague, melodramatic post on facebook. (I'm not proud of that.) So, I told her that Brian and I had been fighting more since adopting Kaleb. We can't seem to get through one of his days off without a major blow-out. The added stress of a teenager has definitely taken its toll. I wish that we handled it better, but there you go. She sympathized and then told me that she and her husband had gotten approved for foster care. And, then she basically offered to take Kaleb.
It was such a kind gesture and I think the world of her as a person for offering. I didn't need to consider it, though. I immediately knew that would never be a possibility. And, it was in that moment that I realized just how much I love him.
Yes, he drives me crazy. (And vice-versa). Yes, it seems that no matter what I do, he'll never be satisfied. Yes, he is going to make me work harder. Yes, it was much, much harder to start with a teenager; harder than I realized that it would be. But, he is my son and that will not change. And, I don't want it to.
So, everyday, I will try. And, everyday, I will succeed and fail. I need to accept that as a victory in itself.
This morning, I woke up and looked on facebook. I read that a friend's girlfriend was losing her battle to cancer. To make it more tragic, my friend is pregnant with their first child. Now, there are two people who deserve to feel sorry for themselves.
Not me. I look at my family. We are all healthy enough to drive each other bonkers on a daily basis. It will continue to be challenging. But, it will be.
Perspective is a powerful thing.