I Never Promised You A Rose Garden


After 20 years you get to know your partner pretty well.

This is why you’ll spend 2 hours in the garden because the weeds have made it their kingdom and even though your partner comments on the overgrown state every single time she passes your private Sherwood Forest, and laments over how she simply must get the fall seeds into the ground, she won’t actually doing anything about it until there is a clear path from the walkway to the raised garden beds.

This is also why she’ll cook a week’s worth of food for you and the kids before she goes out of town, putting it in serving-sized containers labeled with microwave instructions and side dish pairings because she knows if left to your own devices you and the kids will be eating cereal, pizza, and McDonald’s for every meal.

You’ll know that since both of you are the children of immigrants, you will plan nothing special to mark 20 years together, save a card on the pillow that lampoons married life with frightening accuracy and has you both howling with laughter.

Instead, you’ll spend your special day in back-to-back conference calls and marathon brainstorm sessions. You’ll look up at the clock and suddenly realize you’re going to be late for the parent-teacher-principal conference to discuss why, oh why, did Nick put his gym shoe in the urinal. In the middle of the meeting, you’ll remember that after 2 days of rolling and squeezing the tube with as much strength as you can muster, you are now officially out of toothpaste. Afterwards, you will pick up your sulky eldest boy, whiny middle son, and cranky diva daughter who, by the way, is in completely different clothes from the morning since she decided to pour her sippy cup into her lap instead of her mouth in protest of the switch from a bottle.

You will listen to “I’m a Paleontologist” 16 times on repeat during the ride home which is the boys’ new favorite song and still more appropriate that their former favorite song LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know it” (thank you, B96). You’ll hastily throw together dinner – noodles and spag sauce – most of which will land on the floor since at least 2 of the children have forgotten that they actually know how to use forks and the third is just pissed, well, just because.

After dinner, you’ll tap your inner structural engineer to build a cushion fort that can accommodate 3 enthusiastic – and overtired – children and their limited understanding of spatial relationships in a confined space. After 3 ice packs for 3 different collisions, you’ll march them upstairs for a relatively drama-free tuck-in. And by 11:30, you will collapse into your bed, thankful the day has come to a close.

This will last until 11:35 when your 2 year old wakes up screaming and you’ll run into the bedroom and are able to feel the heat from his body before you even place a hand on his forehead. You’ll mentally rearrange tomorrow’s appointments when the thermometer shows a 104 fever and you know he’ll need to stay home. Then you’ll ply him with ice water and carry him off to the guest bedroom because you also know that in this feverish state he’ll turn into a soccer player in bed and at least one parent should get a semi-decent night’s sleep.

It won’t be you.

As you stare at the ceiling, after one more kick to the kidney, you’ll wonder if this is what you and your partner had envisioned all those years ago, when you served overcooked white rice and mushy vegetables (to an Asian! What were you thinking?!), and she started dinner by saying she wasn’t looking for a relationship. You’ll remember how, after 3 month of dating, she told you not to drop off the face of the earth but she seriously, seriously just did not have time for whatever was growing between you. You’ll laugh at your insistence that you were absolutely meant to be together, but you were nobody’s doormat, so when she got her s*** together, she should give you a call.

You’ll be thankful that you both stuck it out, balancing each other’s quirks and supporting each other’s crazy dreams. Then you’ll get up from bed, walk down the hallway and kiss your sleeping partner on the cheek, amused and amazed that you’ve lasted this long.

“Happy Anniversary.”

2 thoughts on “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden

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