Janice has everything.
She is the queen of her young family. Her husband provides well and defers to her. Her son is absolutely perfect and adores her. She makes all the final decisions in her tiny queendom. She lives in beautiful Sweden where life is both easy and stimulating. She has a great group of international friends. She does as she pleases and is extremely happy.
In turn for her good life, Janice is the best wife and mother. Her family is taken cared of and supported 100%. Their home is a beautiful space for them to thrive and grow. She is the absolute light and joy of their little family. She knows it and she lives for it.
Five months ago, a tragedy in her husband's family had led to their quick return to the United States. The family had not planned to return for at least three more years but her husband needed to support his mother after the accident. Mammy didn't have anyone else but them in her life. John was an only child.
Luckily John was able to find a high-paying and higher position job at a prestigious firm in Manhattan. A month after the accident, they had shipped their life in boxes and boarded a plane bound for New York. They settled in a beautiful two bedroom apartment in the upper east side. Mammy would continue living in New Jersey and they would visit her every other week. She was recovering well and responding to her physical therapy.
The move was stressful and caused a strain in John and Janice's marriage. Janice wasn't ready to leave Sweden but could not verbalize it to John. This decision was not part of their plans. She had her friends. She had a good life. In the United States she would have to start over. And with a one year old, she couldn't see how that could be done. Who would she talk to? Now that she was a mom, she needed friends who understood the struggles and who accommodated activities with her child. How can John help her when his working hours are now longer than they've ever been? Everything seemed harder and lonelier in New York. They shouldn't have moved.
In three months, Janice had gotten their new life in New York settled. The apartment was perfect. She found baby classes, the park, the butcher and the pediatrician. She went grocery shopping everyday. And she went item shopping every other day. On the weekends, the entire family went to Central Park to stroll and feed the ducks. John was pressured but doing well. Mammy was finally back to normal and she was comforted by their bi-monthly visits. She loved baby Donovan. Janice can't help but think that had they known Mammy would get better this fast, they should have just stayed in Sweden.
Six months later, Janice was still sad. She doesn't randomly burst into tears anymore but she still can't help but think her old life was better. Sweden was absolutely perfect, New York just can't compare. She secretly still resents John but doesn't understand why. Surely she couldn't be this selfish? She loved her mother-in-law. But she can't stop thinking about how they should have just stuck to the plan. What was wrong with her?
Janice tries her best to be happy around John. And she keeps herself busy. She takes the best care of Donovan. She prepares healthy meals for her family. She dotes on Mammy. But she still cries everyday while John is at work and Donovan is napping. She doesn't know why or what to do. But she can't stop her tears. She hates it here.