We are celebrating the KingofHearts' birthday today. A couple of days ago, I had the girls make this t-shirt for his present from them:

The Caterpillar had a bit of trouble understanding the "put your hand in paint then put it flat down on the shirt" thing. I successfully got her hand flattened into the paint alright, but then she closed her hand into a tight little tiny fist and Would. Not. Let. Go. Of. That. Paint. I tried unsuccessfully to pry her fingers open to make a hand mark until she decided the only way she'd let go of the paint was by putting it in her mouth. Ruh roh. That's when I gave up on the ten six-week-old fingers idea and figured her feet would be more cooperative instead. So we have ten six-week-old toes. That, coupled with twenty-five four-year-old fingers equals the ripe old age of thirty-five. What a geezer!

Throughout the project, I explained to The Dormouse that this was a surprise for Daddy and we would have to keep it a secret. In fact, I had the materials a few weeks ago, but knowing that she wouldn't be able to keep a secret that long, waited until the other day to have her make the shirt.

"What's a secret, momma?"

"It means that we don't tell daddy."

"We don't tell Daddy it's a shirt?"

"Well, it would be better if we didn't tell Daddy that we made anything, but especially don't say it's a shirt."

"Can I tell him I made a Halloween project?"

"Yes, you can tell him about that, just don't say anything about the shirt."

"OK momma, I will say, 'Hi Daddy, look at the Halloween project I made.' And I won't say anything about the shirt."

"Very good. That's exactly right."

That night, The KingofHearts got home from work, walked up the steps and opened the door. He hadn't even gotten the door shut behind him when The Dormouse said excitedly, "Daddy, I'm not gonna tell you the secret... we made you a shirt."

I knew she would probably spill the beans, but I thought we might could go, say thirty seconds before that happened. I'm so naive.

Everyone who knows us well, knows that The KingofHearts is the romantic in our relationship. I'm not demonstrative nor am I great at making grand romantic gestures. Sometimes I feel guilty about that. While most guys would appreciate not needing to buy flowers and jewelry and not having a girlfriend who makes a big sappy Thing about every birthday and holiday, I think The KingofHearts secretly would like me to be a little more girly-girl about our relationship. A tiny bit more needy or clingy or perhaps to just act like a girl
some time.

One day, shortly after we had been married, he was supposed to mow the lawn and didn't get around to it for a couple of days. So I got out the lawn mower and did it myself before he came home from work. He drove up just as I was putting the mower away and muttered, "You don't need me at all, do you?"

"Nope." was my response. I think that hurt him just a little bit. I'd like to pretend otherwise, but it's true. I'm an ridiculously independent person. I did not get married extremely young and I lived a real adult life before I met and married him. I learned to do a few things... changed my own oil, mowed my own lawn, fixed household appliances. I had a job and paid rent, and owned stuff and drove myself across country. I never got married because I needed a man to provide that stuff for me.

So I'm not going to sit there and say I can't live without him.

I can live without him.

I just don't want to.

Happy Birthday, honey. We love you.