The Commitment Pattern

basil seedlingsLook at my little darlings! They’re coming up a week earlier than I expected!

Are you familiar with the commitment pattern?

Phase One: Care for and nurture a plant. If you can keep a houseplant alive for at least three seasons, you can more on to the next phase.

Phase Two: The fish. Pretty self explanatory. Maintain a pet fish for a minimum of six months. I actually tried to skip phase one (plants just add more clutter to an already stuffed, tiny NYC apartment). I bought an adorable red beta fish and named him Patrick. Last year, when Patrick the 5th kicked the bucket just shy of three months, I thought – maybe beta fish and I just aren’t meant to be together. But now I see the error of my ways. No skipping the pre-requisites, Becky. Pass off on the plant before you tackle the fish again.

Phase Three: Mammals. Your choice. Puppy, kitten, hamster, rabbit, penguin…so many options. But you must be the primary caretaker of this mammal. I had a cat once. His name was Mufasa, and he was an adorable, fluffy, very active kitten. All my friends had kittens, and I had begged my parents for months to allow me to have a kitten of my own. Wisely, they said no. One day my kind older brother spotted a tribe of kittens being given away in front of the grocery store. He brought one home for me. To my parent’s dismay, the owner had fled the scene soon after dispersing the kittens, and thus mine was un-returnable. Yahoo! I turns out, however, that I was more interested in the IDEA of having a pet than the act of caring for one. Thankfully, Mufasa had a kind-hearted grandmother (my Mom) who looked after his needs while I went off to college and moved on with my life. “Sorry,” I said. “They don’t allow pets.”

Phase Four: Baby. Some people never reach this stage. And yet some people can skip all the other phases and head straight for this one. Innate natural ability, I guess, like Mozart. I am not that talented, and for now, I’ll stick with the plants.

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