2016 was a year I didn’t blog so much. I was tired from growing another baby. I was daunted by the task of raising my older two. I was (am?) dealing with personal grief that can’t be discussed here. I watched too many of the people I love struggle. I felt too many things. I couldn’t organise my thoughts. I didn’t know what I believed about a lot of things. Coming here often seemed inauthentic. Saying something real was exhausting and terrifying.
Yet I’m still here, writing, and I can see the good things the last year gave us. 2016 will always be the year Delilah was born and filled our minds with that arresting light unique to new babies. By dredging up a lot of uncomfortable things about myself, the year has given me the opportunity to begin to face what really lies behind conflicts with my family, particularly with my children.
We’ve just come back from a three-week trip to Thailand as you might have seen if you follow me on Instagram. It was a real privilege to make a holiday of my brother-in-law’s wedding, and an opportunity to spend much needed time together and to reflect.
More than ever, I am convinced that God is in it with us. Not that there are answers to a lot of our questions. Or that I can expect circumstances to radically change. If anything, this year taught me that a lot of life’s hurts don’t go away. They simply dull over time. But I believe that He is walking with us, even as we learn to live with pain.
This year brings huge change for us. This month, in fact. We’re finally moving to Cornwall, where Laurence is already working. That too brings a mess of different feelings. I’m excited about being near the sea again and about the lifestyle it offers. I’m looking forward to getting rooted in new communities in ways we possibly didn’t pursue enough here in Bristol. I hope it means we’ll get more time together as a family now that Laurence won’t have to go away for work.
Still, it’s hard to leave the friends and family we have in Bristol. I think of those outside of Bristol and know that we are moving a lot further away from them too. We signed contracts on our house some time ago and I got emotional about selling the house two of our children were literally born in; a house that only one of the three is likely to clearly remember. I can’t think about any of that too much, to be honest.
So much would be easier about staying yet we’ve felt strongly that we needed to go. Right now we float in liminal space. We are packing up the house, decluttering, booking things in, ticking points off a checklist. Then we will be staying in a friend’s holiday let, waiting to move into a new home. We must embrace uncertainty for now. There can be no “once we’ve done this, we will feel settled”. More patience is needed than that. More patience and, for me, more writing too.