It was hubby’s first birthday since we’d been married, and I wanted it to be special.
He spent the afternoon with his friends, and I spent it baking a surprise birthday cake. Lovingly decorating it and anticipating his reaction when he saw it.
Standing in our lounge room, surrounded by our closest friends, I brought out the cake, candles glowing.
His response took me by surprise: polite, but not beaming with excitement. It got worse. I offered him a slice, and he politely said, ‘No, thanks,’ and returned to his conversation.
I was furious! Our friends soon picked up on the vibe and left soon after. Hubby was completely oblivious.
‘I spent all afternoon baking that cake!’ I shouted.
‘Thanks, sweety, it looked great. I just wasn’t in the mood for cake.’
Steam poured out of my ears, and an enormous argument ensued. Ending when I pushed him, he lost balance and fell on top of a fan.
Fast forward nine years, and here I am, 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, baking his birthday cake.
But this time, it’s different. For seven birthdays, there had been no cake, but now our boys are old enough to be right into birthdays, and so, a few days earlier, eating dinner, hubby casually says: ‘Are you going to help mama bake me a birthday cake?’
I look up from my peas and smile. I know the cake’s not for him. It’s for them. What’s a birthday without birthday cake, when you’re two and nearly four years old?
So, I lovingly bake the cake and ice it, then let the boys help me crumble honeycomb over it. ‘The dirt road,’ says Tyson.
We have a lovely lunch with friends, bring out the cake and the boys excitedly blow out the candles, sitting on hubby’s lap.
I cut it up and offer him a slice. ‘No, thanks,’ he smiles at me, and I smile back.
How much I’ve changed. After 9-1/2 years of marriage, I’ve learned that sweets aren’t his thing and that’s okay.
I’ve also learned not to get hung up on the things that really aren’t that big a deal.
And that life now isn’t about just us any more, it’s about creating memories for our kids.
I read this controversial blog from Matt Walsh about how so many marriages are falling apart because people have changed.
The truth is that I have changed… and thank goodness for that! And so has my hubby. We are all a continuous work in progress, and nothing changes you more than kids.
How else can you get to see how your partner deals with sleep deprivation, tantrums, a continuous state of chaos and keeping another human being alive?
It’s easy to look into the eyes of your partner, over the piles of washing, Lego and odd shoes, and think, ‘Hello, stranger.’
But every now and then, we’re allowed out ‘sans children’, and it’s like a flotation tank for our marriage. Peering over the table at my hubby, surrounded by nothing but peaceful ambience, I catch a glimpse of the man I married. He’s still in there, behind a few grey hairs and bags under the eyes.
Sure, he’s changed a bit too, but no one stays the same. Like a good wine, he’s matured with age. And, in my opinion, there’s nothing more attractive than a man who’s a great dad. Becoming parents has brought out parts of ourselves we would never have known were there.
I love getting to know my husband every day. He continues to surprise me, and I’m sure I surprise him, too.
Originally published at Mum Daily. Photo by Pavel Danilyuk.