Some of the time I live in Sydney with my husband and the rest of the time I live in Canberra with #3 son. This is an odd situation but when has anything in my life been standard. The final 2 years of high school in Canberra are different to the rest of the country. A separate campus all to themselves. No uniform, teachers are called by their first names, responsibility is placed completely on the student. It’s like a mini-university experience. This is the experience sons #1 and 2 had and it’s the one son #3 very much wanted.
Four years ago, we returned to Sydney for my husband’s work and because he’s an only child and his parents are important to us. We wanted to be there for them. We moved with son #3 who only knew the nation’s capital as his home. He left everything he knew and two brothers behind and it was a lot of change. What is this strange place you call Sydney? This isn’t home. It’s not hot enough, cold enough, there are too many people, there is too much traffic and it’s not home and no one understands me. He’s was right. No one understood him. I had always understood him but Sydney made me doubt myself. I think there is something about the very anxious that makes other people nervous and what we don’t understand we tend to fight against. They wear the worry of the world for everyone to see whereas we stuff it down with food, drink, laughter. He is not afraid to wear his mood. He does not pretend, he just is. That’s difficult for many people. I get that.
So, we moved back to Canberra, #3 and I. There are people who think we are genuinely crazy and there are people I didn’t tell. I just moved. Didn’t say a word. Why you ask? I’m introverted to the extreme and while I do not suffer anxiety to the extent my son does, there is a little bit of me that avoids being judged even when the judgement is made up in my head. “You’re leaving your husband to accommodate the wishes of your child? But he’s a child, he has to fit in with you!” Yes, I know all that, but he’s my child and you’ll never understand so I’m not having this conversation in my head with you out loud, have you done that or is that just me?
It’s just me? Okay then…
We had kept our family home, rented it during the 4 years – that’s a story in and of itself – and we put the possessions we could fit into our car and drove home. The smile on his face began at the major freeway that would get us there and fully emerged as we pulled into the drive and unloaded our things. I had not seen that smile in a long time. I had to brush away the tears. He started to joke with me. He bantered again. He talked again. Good lord, doesn’t this child know I am anti-social and how do I shut him up? It’s like 4 years of not talking came out of his mouth in the first 4 days
But what did you do with your husband?
I put him in a box. There are air holes and food and water. He’ll be fine.
No, not really. DH is in Sydney, in my beautiful apartment in Sydney – I’m not bitter- because his specialist is in Sydney and he needs to have regular check-ups for the cancer. Multiple myeloma is a sneaky thing. It never really goes away, even after treatment. One other major reason why he stayed in Sydney is – he works. That amazing man works so I can read and #3 can come to Canberra so he can smile again. As I told you before, my job is reading and I do it philanthropically. No one pays me to work this hard at reading.
Now as much as son #3 loves Canberra, I love Sydney. I love Manly. But this is my child and he has a dream and I am the facilitator of his dream so here I am in Canberra, dating my husband. We meet on weekends and have dinners and in some crazy messed up way, it’s actually working. We face time and try not to giggle when one of us asks the other “what are you wearing tonight?” Absence does make the heart grow fonder. I’ve always enjoyed his company. His detailed, bossy, in control company, but now I look forward to his company. Plus, he knows how to change a washer and the tap upstairs is dripping.
Son #3 is old enough to leave on his own for a few nights and that will grow to a week every now and then so I can slip back to my happy place and sleep in my other bed. It’s not that I don’t like Canberra, I actually do. But I love my husband more and that’s where he lives.
It’s two years I tell myself. It will pass in a heartbeat but when your husband has a very serious cancer two years is a lifetime.
But wait! I still haven’t told you what I read.