Monday, November 22, 2010


Before T and I started dating many moons ago, we worked together as servers in a tacky steakhouse. You know, the kind where you throw the peanuts on the floor? When ever we worked together, he would make me a paper rose out of the little beverage napkins laying around. Usually just a single rose and would hand it to me or stick it in my apron as I walked past. It was corny but a sweet gesture on busy nights and something I got used to.

Then he quit. He moved on to work for another restaurant and I barely ever saw him. Occasionally he would come in to visit all of us and every time I was there, a single paper rose. If he forgot, I would tease him about it and it would be sitting there waiting the next time I walked by.

Then I quit. Moved on to other ventures and never looked back. I thought about him every once in a while, wondering what ever became of him and his paper roses. The few times I went into the restaurant he had quit the tacky steakhouse to work for, he was never there. Eventually I just gave up. Like you do when you figure you will never see someone again.

Then we did. We ran into each other a year or so later and it was instant sparks. We were engaged within 6 weeks and married in a year.

That was a little over six years ago and there have been many paper flowers along the way. Birthdays, babies births, date nights. Fewer and fewer through the years. They have almost stopped. We have been busy with lifes ups and downs and those paper flowers have taken the back burner.

Until this week. One night, Tommy brought home a bouquet of paper roses. White and papery in a plastic kid's cup. They were all perfectly formed and arranged in their "vase" when came through the door and thrust them at me with out pomp. I smiled and gave him a hug. Thanked him, put them on my nightstand and then went on about bathing the boys.

After the boys got out of the bath, T was getting them into their pajamas while I caught up on some email when K carried the bouquet of white paper roses in to me and dumped them in the floor. Crumpling a couple as he stepped on them to crawl up into my lap. T picked them up and rearranged them back in their cup and placed them back on the nightstand, where they belonged.

The next morning I woke up and rolled over face to face with the paper roses. Mostly perfect and beautiful with a few crumpled and stomped on mixed in. I was struck with how much that bouquet of paper roses represented our relationship. Not just the memories associated with the paper roses and their significance but also the imperfect bits.

Our marriage has been filled with beautiful, pristine paper roses. Two gorgeous little boys, good times, lots of laughs and fun. Working together to make our lives better and our marriage stronger.

Lately though we have seen our share of imperfect, crumpled roses. Thrown down in emotion and stomped almost flat.

Its the mix of those things. The beautiful roses and the ugly roses that make us work. That make us, us.  The fragility in the balance that makes me wonder sometimes though. The ability to look past the downtrodden rose and see the pristine ones shining through is solely on my part. I want this to work. To make those perfect roses appear more often than the damaged ones is the goal. Not something that I claim to be easy, hence the mix.

I guess the thing I came to realize more than anything is that sometimes you have to work harder at keeping the roses intact. Sometimes it doesn't work. The roses can be made easily and readily but keeping them beautiful can require some work. Unattended roses, when paper or in the mind, can become sad and warped. Imperfect.

So here is to striving for a mix. Not perfection. Not imperfection. A mix. Crumpled paper roses to make the perfect ones stay perfect.


  1. What a sweet story, and although every relationship has its peaks and valleys and it is the peaks that make the valleys worthwhile!

  2. What a beautiful sweet post! It is the perfection and imperfection that give our life balance, make it interesting, and make it our own.


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