Sounds like the gestation period of a large mammal. Actually it's the period of time that I can't seem to stop calculating, thinking back to, adding to. There have been some very rough parenting moments the past 21 months. Moments we haven't shared with pretty much everyone except family members who needed to know or we needed them to know. That makes me feel guilty and awkward because I know we're keeping "secrets" and feigning normalcy. People can get their feelings hurt when they feel they aren't important enough or close enough to you to be confided in. I've allowed friendships to suffer, because it was easier to distance myself than take a chance on someone asking too many questions.
We've experienced a lot of emotions - sorrow, disappointment, shame, anger, extreme fear, and oddly, relief. Sometimes your kids do things that at the time you're really upset about, yet you know in the back of your mind you'll laugh about someday. These are not the kinds of things we've experienced. It has sucked, and I have sucked as a parent at times.
Feeling shame is a big one, because shame led to envy. Alan quoted something to me a few weeks ago that was an "a-ha" moment for me. He said that Dave Ramsey (of course it would be Dave Ramsey that Alan is quoting!) said something to the effect of "Greed is when you want what others have; envy is when you don't want others to have what they have, just because you can't have it." Ouch. That totally hit home with me. Shamefully, I've had some moments the past few years when rather than respect and admire and be happy for people who seem to have great lives and wonderfully-balanced kids, I've envied them. That's horrible. I really have been trying to change that the past few months, and thankfully that poignant quote is a reminder of how ugly that green-eyed monster can be.
So why mention all this now. Yesterday was the last day of school, a day some teenagers might do some "celebrating," yet we were not woken up in the middle of the night with distressing news. But I woke up several times looking at the clock and wondering. Thank you God, for the peaceful night. It was a milestone, of sorts. And I've just been feeling this increasing need to release some of this, whatever it is. I can't find a word for what I'm carrying around.
Having said all that, life is not horrible. Some things are really good. But even the things that aren't still have value, like little opportunities for growth. I may not look back and laugh at some experiences, but at least I can look back and be thankful for what I learned.