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Tarun and I had a quintessential monsoon wedding. We roasted in the blistering summer heat and drenched in the humidity. Instead of the horrid weather, we vividly remember being on top of the world, chomping at the bits to start our journey.

In short, I felt totally competent, fully in charge.

Decades later, I am mortified at how ridiculously young and pathetically clueless I was on that special day. I equated my ability to function with the adults to being an adult. On a recent anniversary I took stock of what I did not know then.

That learning to cope with another person takes decades!

Tarun and I could not be more different. The way we approach problems, the solutions we offer, our emotions, our fears, what makes us happy, how we procrastinate, when we are proactive frequently place us on opposite ends of life's continuum. In our early years, the age dynamic worked in T's favor. He had more life experiences, I had fewer. He was able to consider options with clarity and it took little effort to align with his decisions.

As I better understood the limits of my own comfort zone, I started leaning away on certain topics. v1.0 of dealing with the friction that followed resulted in mild frustration. v2.0 led to debates and sustained efforts to convince the other person. v3.0 led to ignoring opposition and doing what made sense and carefully navigating the intersecting circles. We are now beta-testing v4.0 which involves seeing the light in the other person's rationale. Each version has taken a decade or so to navigate because we are anything but agile.

That running a household is like running a business!

Let's just take one aspect - the kitchen, quite the capitalist enterprise! You can only handle so many SKUs (dishes). The factory ran non-stop when the boys were teenagers ("What's there to eat?"). The supply chain and production processes had to be perfect to avoid customer meltdown ("There's nothing to eat!"). The kids cared little about cost control ("Why can't we eat out?"). The lid on budgets was constantly blowing ("I am going to the store to get something to eat"). And profit motivation came in the form of flavor - no taste, no joy, no happiness, more cooking.

That kids are put on earth to test you!

We went through several iterations before admitting that our hellraisers needed a good cop and a bad cop, the carrot and the stick, unconditional love and the come-to-Jesus moments. Over the years, Tarun and I got better at swapping back and forth on our cop roles. This journey was not easy and there were moments when the uphill climb took our breath away. Plus the kids contributed to fueling the chaos. Yes, you did kiddos, and you know exactly when!

That nobody talks about this stuff!

Maybe if they did, we would run for the hills?! Like the surgeon who tells you recovery will be a month and then says six months and then a full year. If they told you this upfront, you would say no thanks, right?

In hindsight and despite all the troubles, we have loved every minute of our crazy lives together. We have had epic fights, we have cried with passion, but we have laughed gloriously and most often.

We are still clueless....still learning....still refining...after all these years. Cheers to versions 5, 6 and beyond!



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