Boundaries, making an effort, trying. It all matters.
After writing my last post and reading the comments (Thank you so much for the support, by the way!), I was re-fueled, rejuvenated, inspired, etc. I started to force myself to get back in the game. I made him clean his room. I mean, really clean his room. Well, not really clean his room. There was so much more that he could have done but the important thing was that he did so much more than he wanted to. ;) I won't go into details. but it was pretty much a textbook teenager room cleaning experience. He cleaned very LOUDLY. Many things were moved ANGRILY. But, when I let him stop and he left to go hang out with his friends, I felt better. I had regained some confidence as a parent. And, I knew that I had done the right thing. Even if it totally made my afternoon just plain suck. ;)
Throughout the week, I made my efforts (and he did, too). I don't remember the scenario but I remember a moment when I told his back (because he was walking away) that we wouldn't get close again if we didn't start fighting again. While, thankfully, that didn't end in a fight, haha, but it was yet another wake up call for me. It only kind of mattered if he got my point.
But, what really got me was the other day when he finished mowing the rest of the grass for Brian. Before he went out to do it, he had been talking about how a particular function on the mower worked. Brian had some trouble with it, but Kaleb was confident that he could make it work. And when he came in (after doing a much quicker and less thorough job than Brian would have), he immediately said "I don't see what was so hard about that." I was instantly annoyed because I could look out the window and see the spots that he missed. So I responded, pragmatically and un-helpfully with "Well, that's because your father does a more thorough job than you."
Of course, he responded just as un-helpfully with "Whatever. If he doesn't want me to do it, I won't do it." And I responded with something to the effect of "I'm not trying to upset you and we do appreciate your help. I'm just saying that's why it's harder..." Etc, etc. It didn't matter what I said, he was walking out.
(Come to think of it, I think that's when I made my "We won't get close again if we don't fight" comment!)
Anyway, I stewed on it as he showered and changed. When he came back, I called him on the fact that he shouldn't walk away, blah, blah, blah. He said that he was just trying to point out that he was able to get the mower to turn on right. While he still could have picked a better choice of words, I realized that I had taken offense to the wrong thing. Or more to the point, taken offense where no offense was intended.
So, I apologized for misunderstanding and taking offense. I said that I was glad that the mower worked and acknowledged that I was expecting him to say something rude so I was ready to react...which wasn't fair.
And, even though, I was forced to admit that I was wrong which is never fun, I again felt better.
I felt like maybe I could do this, after all. I'm confident that won't be the last time that I will take offense where none is intended and I'm just as confident that sometimes offense will totally be intended. But, still, maybe I can do this.
But, I'm not looking forward to the next room cleaning day.... ;)
(Ok, now back to not writing about Kaleb for all the really good reasons that I said in my last post!)