Outdoor sports enthusiast Jason Ellery and his wife, Nicole Ellery, open up about married life with a young family and a spinal cord injury.
By Ian Baker
“I never thought much about having kids,” says Jason Ellery, 32, who has two sons. Kyden has just turned four, and Jordy is seven months. Jason, who looks slight but wiry, and who worked until he was 24 as a carpenter, will tell you that he is not the sort of person who looks far down the track.
A former snowboarder, he likes to live in the moment.
“Unlike Nicole,” Jason says of his wife, also 32, with whom he has been very friendly since both were 18. The couple moved in together in their early 20s, renting a house in Melbourne’s south-east near where they grew up.
Nicole began working in physiotherapy. She recalls that about that time, she knew she wanted children.
“Nicole felt that what she could see around her when she was growing up was what she wanted her life to be,” says Jason.
“I didn’t really have that. I didn’t look that far into the future.
“And yeah, I never thought that I would have the time to spend with kids that I do nowadays.”
Nicole, who presents as gracious and open-hearted, had thought that if she became a mother it would be she who raised her children, mainly. Just like her mum, mainly, had cared for her, and for her sister and brother, while her dad, a tradesman, was busy with work.
She had never thought she would share her children so much with their father.
“We’re talking about love and how do you get that with someone who uses a wheelchair."
“Jason’s a much better dad than I ever expected him to be,” she reveals. “And that makes me happy. It makes me want to cry.
“He’s still working, but not as much as he would have been. I know for a fact that if he was still working as a carpenter he would be working six or seven days a week. He would never be home.
“He has patience, and he plays. And that’s great, because I’m not like that at all.
“When Kyden was a couple of months old, I left them alone together for the first time. When I came back I saw that Jason had my T-shirt on. Ky had been crying, and Jason was trying to smell like me.
“That was pretty special.
“We’re talking about love and how do you get that with someone who uses a wheelchair. Well that’s something that makes me love Jason: the way he is with our kids. I can see how much he loves the boys, and how much they love him.
“Which makes me love them all. It’s just a big love-fest!”
Nicole laughs, conscious of how sentimental she may be sounding, and Jason, whom Nicole says is very short with words when it comes to talking about how he feels, laughs with her. Her description of family life is funny for its implicit contrast with how family life seems, for anyone, on rougher days. It is funny, but neither is joking.