Dry Cereal

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For awhile we were the perfect pair. Anyone who says there’s no such thing as perfect is simply incorrect, it exists. And when it was good, it was really good. It was, well, perfect. Like spaghetti and meat-balls, peanut butter and jelly, hot-dogs and mustard, bacon and eggs, doughnuts with sprinkles, we were meant to be together. We were like crispy cereal and cold milk.

But things changed. The cereal started getting cold and the milk started turning sour. And when it was bad, it sucked.

Sounds familiar? All relationships go through this. Hasn’t happened in your happy little relationship yet? Don’t worry, you’re not missing out, it’s coming. For those who still believe in fairy tales, here’s the translation for “happily ever after”, Snow White runs off with Droopy and the Prince and Happy hook up. Welcome to reality.

Some relationships go through the changes earlier than others, some worse than others and most go through it repeatedly, but they all go through it. Why? Simple. People change. We like to think that’s not the case, but it is. Circumstances change and circumstances change people. What you (plural, as in you the couple) were like before one of you lost a job, picked up a stray pet or read the other one’s messages on Blackberry, (I don’t recommend any of these if you can avoid it) is not what you are like now. The lack of money added pressure, the pressure made you miserable and the misery made you fight. The pet was cute enough, but old, tired and pooped on everything. The stray went everywhere with one of you (when the other wasn’t invited) and the one who got left behind became insecure, suspicious and jealous, which lead to misery and of course, misery led to fighting. And those BB messages, well, they made the one who read them a little psychotic. Then you both got miserable, started fighting and ended up on an episode of ‘Snapped’. (Just kidding.) (Sorta.)

Crap happens. Promise you, it does. They don’t teach you this in school (or some other vital stuff you’d think is worthy of a mention) but in every relationship, crap happens. So there you are, your crispy cereal got left out on the counter, lost come of the crunch and then the milk sat next to the stove too long and started to go sour. (Sigh).

You can call it quits and move on. You can throw the milk down the drain and get a fresh batch. Shoot, you can even try a new flavour of milk or switch to soy. Go for it! But let’s be honest, while this is perfectly easy for some, (oh the envy), for others, this will hurt so much you feel like you’re trying to blow your kidneys out through your nose. That doesn’t mean you can’t walk away, just know that walking is not always the easy path.

Think what you have is worth saving? Then start churning! Make it work. Take that sour milk and make it into something else – butter, yoghurt, ice cream, cottage cheese (does anyone eat cottage cheese?). It may not be what it was before, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be good. I must caution however, that you are both going to need to agree on this. If not, one of you is going to feel pretty dumb a few months down the road and you may end up with other issues. So you’ve been churning and you got yourself a nice, smooth, velvety butter now, right? But who wants to eat butter and cereal? Yet you’re surprised when partner moved on to toast… (Feel kinda silly now huh?) Still, for some, (those who churn together), this will work. Some will suddenly discover yoghurt or ice cream covered in cereal with a little less crunch is exactly what they wanted. And some couples will repeat this process a few times during the course of their relationship and a lifetime later, still be happy.

But sometimes, though you didn’t quit at the first sign of trouble, and though you were both willing to try and churn at it, sometimes, it just doesn’t work. Sometimes cereal can be enjoyed alone, without adding milk to the equation. Sometimes that turning milk needs to work through a whole other process and perhaps become cheese. And in some cases, even though when it doesn’t work it may hurt, keeping the cereal and milk separate may be best for both the cereal (that won’t get soggy) and the milk (that’s better off with cookies).

When asked, I will always tell you, at one point, we were the perfect pair. But for now, I’m keeping the cereal in the fridge. And for awhile, in my world, cereal will be served dry.

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Laugh loud, love hard and live in the sunshine.

2 thoughts on “Dry Cereal”

  1. wow Janelle, a very practical guide for just about any relationship. recently I have had my own challenges with business partnership and realizing that they are in no way different from a “regular” relationship.
    I know now we all have to make independent decisions to make the dependency work, and well we got to be practical with it.
    I like that you kept this balanced!
    Cereal in the freezer – you make the English language an art.


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