Today, my husband and I were alone – just the two of us. That hasn’t happened in a long, long time. I love (LOVE) the company of friends and family, but when social obligations pile and bonding time dwindles, both he and I turn toward the grumps. So when Zsolt suggested staying in bed a little longer (because we are on vacation, after all) and just hanging out – something that hasn’t been done in months – and without any obligations to meet or people to host, I thought he had landed on a good idea.
“Let’s stay in bed.”
For various reasons . . . some explainable (hot flashes, worries, concerns) and some unreasonable (hot flashes, worries, concerns) my nerves have been on edge lately. Any little thing is enough to get me cranky, and poor Zsolt is the receiver of my outbursts. Last Saturday I was ticked-off because Zsolt thought it was a stupid idea to raise my bike seat – here we are in this lakeside village, biking around without a care in the world, and somehow I find a point of irritation: like my Dad says, ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’. Anyhow, cue my hissy fit over his lack of co-operation, followed by day-long discomfort between the two of us. All over a stupid bike seat.
But what the heck, eh: How can we get through a year of cancer, and still lose our heads over a bike readjustment? Life ought to be in perspective. Except-except-except that I happen to think the past year of cancer-crap (as many of your can possibly relate) is the bottom line cause of our quiet rumble; it’s an unresolved, heavy strain that rests on both our shoulders. Never – never ever, ever, ever – would I get so bent out of shape with friends, or co-workers, or even family over a bike seat . . . but Zsolt is my Zsolt, meaning for better and worse, we get the honest raw truth of one another. And the honest and raw truth is this: cancer has challenged our relationship, and we’re still recovering from that shock.
There are some things I don’t often talk about in my blog, for instance: sex, grudges, and arguments. Doesn’t mean they aren’t vitally important, doesn’t mean they don’t play key roles in my life, doesn’t mean I’m disinterested in the subjects – actually, I’m a fan of chatting about one’s sex life with the right group of friends, and maybe even (if I can ever get Zsolt to agree) on this blog too one day.
But occasionally, I do allude to the tension. For all the amazing things Zsolt and I have become with each challenge, each move, each triumph and each hurdle, I’d be a blatant liar to pretend that the past year hasn’t caused a strain in our relationship. Don’t get me wrong – there’s no doubt in my love for Zsolt, or his love for me; he’s my moon and stars and turquoise Mediterranean sea (or my wide, blue Balaton with the grass beaches and shallow water, or my Canadian maple under which I read ) – he’s all those things and more. But it’s just damn hard to go through a year of cancer battling and not have things change, not have that tension. Why? Because it’s traumatic, the pain cuts deeply. We are still Catherine and Zsolt, but now we’re Catherine and Zsolt who have gone through a lot of sh*t together. Innocence to experience a la relationship.
With that being said, I think we need to heal in a way that doesn’t often get mentioned in the how-to cancer booklets. And this morning, when we stayed in bed, was an excellent step toward recovery. We were alone. We were together. We talked about our feelings. It was restorative, and ought to be done more often.
(Maybe doctors should prescribe ‘bonding’ time with their medications. “Take one Tamoxifen a day, and five long hugs in the evening”)
So this morning has been lovely. With Zsolt’s reassurances fresh in my mind (lovely dovey stuff I won’t repeat here, for the sake of his manliness), I’m trying to worry less and relax more often.
And this week is his birthday too. He’s turned 30. Thirty years, and going strong – that’s my man. I love him to bits – bits and pieces and scoops and dollops. Meeting him was the best thing I’ve ever done. Marrying him was the best decision I’ve ever made. Being with him is the best medicine I could ever take. And all the while, he’s just trucking along – being Zsolt. Turning thirty isn’t a bad thing, not in the least. It’s a gift of time and hopefully, hopefully hopefully hopefully, we’ve got plenty of time ahead. Plenty of time, and a many delicious slices of birthday cake too.