I hope I didn’t give you the wrong idea. This isn’t going to be a post about delicious, creamy, Mexican cake made from three different kinds of milk but more about what this cake has come to symbolize in my life. What’s that you ask..? Appreciation. Cake and appreciation? I know right, like how does that work? I know it probably sounds a little off but once you understand the significance of the memory I have, I think you’ll understand. You see, sometimes it’s in the little things that we see the bigger picture.
My relationship with “Mackenzie” started off like any other relationship. The first time I saw her at my friend’s house, I was immediately attracted to her and began looking for ways to be in the same room as her, noticing she would do the same. I felt like I was in Junior High again, inching my hand towards hers as we watched the movie “Wedding Crashers” in a dark living room, a movie we would both quote often throughout our relationship. Eventually I got the nerve to ask her out just before my birthday. In those first weeks, I said all the right things and tried to make all the right moves, hoping to do things the right way for the first time in my life.. Different from all my previous relationships.
As my birthday drew closer, Mackenzie grew excited and decided that she would make my birthday cake herself. So when she asked me what kind of cake I wanted her to make me, my response was immediate. Tres leches. Hands down the best cake ever invented. (That’s right, I said it!) I never thought she’d actually be able to make it, I figured she’d eventually grow frustrated and go but one somewhere. In fact, she’d never even heard of this kind of cake. But true to her giving nature, she immediately got on her phone to look up recipes for making tres leches cake and then quickly set out to make her man the cake he’d asked for. On my birthday I got tres leches. I was very happy.
It wasn’t very long after this that I began to take Mackenzie for granted. Having her love tucked securely away in my back pocket, I never worried I would be without it or miss it, if she ever decided to leave me. I began staying out late, drinking more than I should and acting as if sex was a reasonable way to express my love. I no longer cherished all the small things she did for me, each and every day.
During the course of our time together she would continue to surprise me, to support me in any way she could and always find ways to do things for me, loving me regardless of how I treated her. She was unselfish. She was kind. She was beautiful.
Appreciation should be a cornerstone in every relationship. As we move forward through life with our loved one, we tend to grow complacent and maybe even a little entitled (especially men). Treating all the little extras our significant other does for us, not as gestures of love but as things that are to be expected. We should never forget how amazing it is to be loved by another soul. To have someone in our lives that puts us first in their hearts, their thoughts and their actions. I’ve been guilty of this most of my life and I consider it a tragedy.
Sitting here now under the fluorescent lights of my tiny two-man cell, drinking stale, freeze-dried coffee and eating a long outdated donut stick, I see these mistakes clearly and to tell you I regret them would be a colossal understatement. I could never find the words to express my unabating remorse for the things I’ve done and everything I have thrown away through my actions. I don’t pretend to have all the answers or write these words as if I’m trying to get you to accept my counsel, I’m just trying to understand it all myself by writing out my life story. Hopefully we can both learn something along the way.
I see now it’s not in the grand gestures, these obvious tokens of love, it’s mostly in the little things. Whether it’s bringing us a coffee from Starbucks, making our favorite dish for dinner, or just showing appreciation for making our birthday cake from scratch. I thank you for everything you did for me Mackenzie and for showing me what it is to be truly unselfish. I should’ve appreciated you more. I should’ve cherished those drowsy smiles you gave me in the early mornings and the love you had for me when I’d get hoe. I could never thank you enough.
Take it from a man who has thrown away a lifetime of blessings. Cherish those moments we tend to take for granted and smile because you’re a witness to one of the most marvelous creations born from an exploded star. Love. Appreciate the little things your loved ones do for you, respond in kind and don’t forget to thank them for the cake.