Over the past few months, preparing for a move and for my youngest's graduation and my still evolving single self...I've been unable to write more than a few words at a time and rarely on anything more permanent than the back of an envelope in my bag or typed with horrific autocorrect into the notes on my phone. I'm hoping that at some point I'm going to remember what "Oscar is where the light comes in" meant to me in a moment of tears in a darkened movie theatre.
And yet, I know there are friends, particularly long distance ones, who have been wondering if "The Vanbinsbergens" blogspot is going to continue on and I have to say at this point, I'm not sure. For now, yes, we are still the Vanbinsbergens. I've been a Vanbinsbergen longer than I was a Bowman...but I can say I honestly wear both with love. My in-soon-to-be-outlaws ( I just like calling them that cause they're pretty badass when it comes to loving people) are still family. While J and I may be in process of divorce - he is still the dad to our great boys. The boys are still "the boys" whilst they grow into incredibly tall men and fill the house with their presence, one that I honestly can say that I am daily thankful for. I know this season is short where the three of us will live in this house together but I'm incredibly happy every day that they are with me. I love the day to day stuff with them - dinners, girlfriends, work life and the still constant bickering of two guys who never fail to amaze me at their diversity despite their brotherhood.
We have moved into a new to us little house and while slowly, it's becoming "our" place by measure of less boxes and more "living" space. The girlfriends come by and fill it with their laughter and their conversation and I know in just a while, it will be "home" as it fills with memories of this summer in the midst of change.
I thought I was ready to leave our home on Stepney and in so many ways I was...but it did bring a lot of fears to the surface. Fears of being on my own and financially responsible for a house and the bills and the long list of "grown up" things...but in moments of doubt and having to make adult decisions, I've discovered that there is ownership and independence in the responsibilities as well. I'm luckily also surrounded by friends who have no qualms about telling me to remember that I've been handling things for far longer than I give myself credit for or who are willing to shut down the ensuing list of fears and take it down to sizeable chunks. I wish I could say I moved into this house with a sense of freedom and joy that I finally have my own space but that would not be completely honest. While there is a sense of independence and joy that comes with having a place of my own, there was also a long list of "what have I done?" moments and self doubt and questioning my ability to make good decisions that comes with any purchase as large as a house. And yet, there were my people, sitting around an island in my neighbour's kitchen or at my desk at work or over coffee that reminded me that despite the unknowns, my decision making for the most part is sound. Probably one of the best things to come out of the whole house buying process is that I'm allowed to make mistakes. I should expect to. It's something I'm willing to say to others but have not ever really allowed for myself. So, while it should be freeing, it's also a learning curve that I don't have to live up to my high expectations or timelines that I self impose. I'm not sure why that's so difficult. I don't have that rigidity when it comes to anyone other than myself.
I was sitting in my new backyard the other morning, trying to figure out how best to make the most of it because it's beautiful and private and makes me feel incredibly spoiled. I've never "owned" a tree that can change the temperature of the outdoors with its incredible shade or soothe with the sound of the wind in its branches. I may have bought a tree and got the house in the deal but I'm actually okay with that part of it all. I noticed a cocoon on the corner of one of the fence posts and it made me think how people compare the struggles of life to the growth of a butterfly from its caterpillar state through to earning its wings. I've heard the analogy a million times but I was struck by the thought as I looked at the cocoon that a butterfly doesn't return to the cocoon after becoming a butterfly...and yet, though I'm not sure I'm through the "struggle" portion of emergence yet, I often find myself returning to the cocoon of change as a touchstone of where I'm at and where I've been. I guess my hope is that at some point, as it has become less and less necessary to remind myself of what I'm coming through...that I will no longer need to come back to the cocoon. (Dear God, please don't everyone send me butterfly trinkets or such...I'm just working through a thought here....) All that to say I recognize that my life is continuing to be a process of change and I'm figuring it out.
So, for the record, we're still here. We're still the Vanbinsbergens so for now, I'm still here. Expect mistakes and messy analogies and much love for all who continue to hang in for the ride.