Michael flew out every Monday morning and in every Friday evening. It was a heartache to see him leave and a joy to see him return but it wasn't ideal.
Monday morning I would roll out of bed, throw some clothes on, gently lift Cameron up and pop him in the car when Michael was ready to leave. We would chat as I drove out to the airport and because of Cameron I would drop him at the door kissing him goodbye for another week.
His flights were in the wee small hours of the morning so I would drive home, pop Cameron back into bed with my fingers crossed and then crawl back into bed myself to grab a few more hours sleep before the routine of the week kicked in without any way to stop it. As the weeks and months crept by I got this routine down to a very fine art and Cameron and I were out of the house for the barest amount of time possible and my body would drop back into a deep sleep the minute my head hit the pillow again.
Cameron and I would survive our week and then drive through the Friday afternoon peak hour traffic to the airport to meet Daddy. We always parked and walked in to meet him. The airport is very different these days but back then you could sit in a waiting area which faced glass walls through which you could watch the travellers arrive and then have time to hop up and meet them at the door.
Each Friday we would go into this area and most afternoons Cameron would cry and I'd receive dark glares or even worse people would get up and leave. More than once we sat in the area all on our own with Cameron's cries echoing around me.
Michael was always happy to arrive home and delighted to see his baby boy. We'd pile into the car and head home in the traffic for another weekend of fitting in as much family time as possible.
Over the weekend Michael would help with Cameron but as time went by things changed a lot week to week and I began to get agitated with Michael because he wasn't doing things the way I did them or the way they had changed. Therapists would have asked me to do things certain ways and of course Michael was working off last weeks requirements not this weeks. I developed routines and coping mechanisms because I was on my own and Michael just didn't understand them or follow them.
I also started to notice that Michael wasn't doing as much around the house and then it occurred to me that he was getting used to single life on the mine in single men's quarters where his food was always there in the mess and his room was always cleaned for him. He really didn't have to do much for himself anymore. This started to really upset me, especially as my exhaustion grew.
After months and months of this routine our relationship started to feel the strain. Michael didn't want to be away all the time, he missed us and was missing out on everything. I didn't want him to be away all the time, I missed him and I wanted and needed the help and support.
I remember standing in a friends kitchen one night on the brink of tears saying - I'm not sure we are going to stay together. It's just not the same anymore, I love him but ........
They were good close friends and knew us well enough to say - you are going to get through this, trust us, he loves you.
By this point I was well aware that a lot of marriages that involved a child with special needs ended in separation and it was terrifying me. I didn't want to be another statistic and I didn't want to lose Michael, I loved him too much. But the cracks were cracking.