Hindsight is both a curse and a gift. Mistakes made are so obvious when a slightly older, slightly wiser version of you trawls through old memories. But that’s the thing; they are memories and nothing more. That time has passed and all we can do is grow…
I fell in love when I was eighteen to the boy that is now the father of my children. It was like any young love, only it was ours; fierce and bright and strong with no thought of the future, until we realised that life was taking us in opposite directions. He was Swedish. I was Australian, our lives separated by a world in between. He was going back to the north, to his home and I was staying. Being away from him was only half living. My thoughts wandered to him always. My heart had already left with him and before long, with nothing but my suitcase, the rest of me followed too.
When I arrived on the frozen ground relief spread through my bones like nothing I have felt before. I could breathe again. I felt at home, not in Sweden, but with him. I was shy, young, attached to my lover like I was reliving an ancient love tale. It was infinite and all consuming. My first child grew slowly inside my expanding belly and for a time I felt complete, blissful in knowing that my baby would be joining me in my love-filled dream, my little world.
Months and months went on before I realised how much I had drawn into myself. I hadn’t made a life for myself; I had created my own world inside the walls of my apartment, away from the newness beyond. My baby boy was perfection but as he grew, I grew too. My ambitions and my loneliness slowly eating away at my euphoria and then suddenly I was lost. After almost three years I longed for home, but the boy I had fallen in love with had his life here, his friends, his family. He had a history, familiarity and a comfort that I yearned for.
We had three different homes in a matter of months and four weeks after our second child was born we left the grey Swedish Winter for Australia, the promise of the burning sun too tempting to resist. It was both wonderful and heartbreaking. We were together with our small ones but we were leaving behind half of our family. I had been too busy, too blind to realise that we were so loved and that each time we moved it meant we would be taking a part of their lives away. It was both misery and elation. We felt torn. We learned quickly the consequences of our spontaneity and wanderlust. The hardships that we thought we had left behind were only the beginning. After weeks I could see the same struggle that I had gone through, only this time I was observing. It was ferocious and dark and then nothingness, like waves in a storm. Somewhere, in the ceaseless moving, our emptied pockets and the broken beginnings of friendships, we had forgotten how to live. We became lonely and bored and started to forget each other too.
For the first time we stopped. For the first time we were honest with ourselves. The mistakes we’d been so blind to became obvious. In the night, when our beautiful babies slept, all the truths and faults and naivety flowed from us and in the end we discovered that the life we had chosen was never going to be easy. Home for us could never be one place. His home was there, mine was here. We needed to make our own. We needed to find our common ground. Where it was didn’t matter, as long as it was a place where we could build our lives together. Somewhere we didn’t need to feel torn, somewhere we could discover ourselves without one of us feeling left behind.
We are on the verge of that adventure. We have found our common ground. We are young and reckless but broken and now will be the time and place to right our wrongs, to catch up with ourselves and each other. We know it will take time and work. We will have to be brave and patient and accept the hardships we have created for ourselves and continue on regardless. But most of all, it’s our blessing; an opportunity to learn, to live and to thrive and for that, I will always be grateful.
ALYXANDRA HAMMAR | North-South Menology