Growing up, you always think the hardest thing about love is finding the right person.
It’s practically bred into us since we were kids. No one dares tell the story of Cinderella’s happily-ever-after, because in reality the end isn’t nearly as fun as the beginning.
No one ever tells you just how hard the rest of it is. You grow up watching your parents fight from time to time, and you rarely see them kiss, but you never really consider the fact that they’re in a relationship; they’re always just your parents.
Love takes a lot of patience and adjustments – there’s no way any two people can survive together without changing some integral part of their personality. There’s no such thing as loving someone just the way they are – it’s about accepting who they are and willing to work through their shortfalls. It also takes a willingness to change.
I was a very different person when I started dating TJ seven years ago. My most noticeable and proudest adjustment has been my temper. My tendency to fly off the handle was something TJ picked up on pretty much immediately, and I’ve been working toward toning it down ever since.
We’re still working some things out, and will be for the rest of our lives. One of the biggest adjustments we’ve made recently is finding a balance between his lack of cleanliness and my obsessive-compulsive need to organize. He has a tendency to leave his socks all over our apartment, or to leave empty rolls of toilet paper on the stand without replacing it with a new one. Sometimes I get frustrated and rearrange his stuff (which he absolutely hates), or I’ll get grumpy and start nagging.
You have to make a lot of compromises, something I’ve never really had to make before meeting him. I can’t just live my life freely if I want it to involve him; every step we take needs to be calculated with each other in mind.
Sometimes I get angry with him for having to give up my neurotic need for an immaculate apartment, or for having to consider our finances as a whole before making any big decisions. And I know he gets mad when he can’t just throw his coat wherever he wants or eat barbeque chips for supper.
But no matter how loud we yell or how heavily we stomp away, we both know it’s worth it. Because I know that I’ll always be able to take my make-up off and stuff my hair in a bun at night and have him tell me I’m beautiful. Because I know that after I’ve had a hard day, I can come home and cry on the couch and not worry about him thinking less of me. Because I know that no matter how hard I fall, he’ll always be there.
Sometimes I get sad when I think of how carefree the early days were, or I get nostalgic when I see a new couple flirting together for the first time. But that stuff’s easy: anyone can put on a push-up bra and dole out sweet remarks. It takes real love to stick with someone after the mascara’s smudged off.
I waited a long time to try this recipe, mostly out of fear that I couldn’t possibly make rolls (breads tend to intimidate me). But after having a particularly nasty fight with TJ last weekend, I stormed into my kitchen, hauled out the mixing bowls and went to work. They worked out really well, and after a lot of compromise on both of our parts, so did we.
The recipe is from Canadian Living.
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup warm water
2-1/4 teaspoon (one package) active dry yeast
4-1/2 cups flour
After gathering ingredients, remove one teaspoon of sugar from required amount and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat milk, butter, salt and remaining sugar until butter is melted. Let cool.
In large bowl, add warm water to the remaining sugar and whisk until dissolved. Sprinkle in yeast, then let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in milk mixture and egg.
Stir in four cups of the flour, one cup at a time, using the bread attachment on your stand mixer, or with a fork. Turn onto lightly floured cutting board and knead, adding as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as necessary until smooth.
Grease a large bowl with margarine or butter. Place dough inside bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 1-1/2 hours in a warm place.
After dough has rise, punch down. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and divide into 20 pieces. Shape each into a ball.
Place 2 balls in the centre of each of two greased 9-inch round metal cake pans. Surround each centre with eight balls. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until they’ve doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Dust with flour.
Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes, or until rolls are golden on top. Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to rack and let cool.