Life, Love, and Mislaid Plans

Picture from the summer we began dating.

Yesterday, my husband and I took our two-year-old to Vanderbilt to have her umbilical hernia evaluated, which isn’t an umbilical hernia after all, but a regular one, and will require surgery in April.

Afterward, I was determined to have lunch at Fido. The hippie coffeehouse is one of my favorite places in Nashville, as are the adjoining art galleries and park, where my best friend, Misty, and I once sat after a checkup on her bone marrow transplant nine years ago.

But Fido’s parking lot was full. The same for the parking spaces near the church, where Misty and I used to park our battered cars before paying five dollars for a cup of coffee.

My husband circled two times, but to no avail. Our two-year-old started screaming in the backseat. My heart pounded. Sweat broke out on my palms. Traffic was so packed, it was claustrophobic. My husband said, “What do you want to do?”

I am 25.3 weeks pregnant. I have just found out my two-year-old needs surgery (outpatient surgery, but still); we are in the middle of moving, and—routine-oriented to a fault—I cannot stand to even have my laundry days rearranged (Monday and Friday, in case you’re wondering).

So, I threw my hands up into the air and cried, “I just want to have a nice lunch after a hard morning! That’s all!”

My husband said, “Do you want to go in there?” He pointed to another restaurant.

No! I want Fidoooo!” By this point, I was resembling our two-year-old in the backseat.

My gracious man circled the block one more time. No mas parking spaces, so we hit the interstate. I silently fumed but was slowly coming back to myself enough to realize I was being ridiculous. My husband said, “I know you are mad at me, but I had nothing to do with that back there.”

I glanced over. “I’m just glad I had my coffee this morning. I was going to wait for Fido because they’ve got Bongo Java.”

My husband grinned. “I am verrry glad you had your coffee this morning.” He glanced in the rear-view mirror. “Madeleine is probably very glad too.”

I slugged his arm.

A few miles later, he asked, “Is there a Panera Bread somewhere?”

Panera Bread is no Fido, but it touched me that he was trying to make my day better. I punched Panera Bread into the GPS. After our food arrived, he said, “Panera Bread was our first date.”

I stopped eating my salad and looked across at him, my big mountain man, with a tiny blond toddler perched on his knee. “It was, wasn’t it?” I paused. “I remember what you were wearing.”

He looked at me, surprised. “You do?”

I nodded. “A red polo with yellow writing. Your hair was longer and curly.”

I also remembered watching him eat, and how handsome he looked–all masculine angles and scruff whereas, at nineteen (almost twenty), I looked fresh out of pigtails.

We were together two years before we got married and had known each other for four years before we began dating, but that summer was the beginning of something more, and we both knew it.

We finished eating, dumped our trash, and piled back into the silver bullet minivan. There was no way we could’ve known everything we would go through when we began dating that magical summer ten years ago, and I am glad we did not.

But life’s been good, regardless of its trials and its mislaid Fido plans, and there’s nobody else I’d rather experience it with than my husband, of the masculine angles and scruff, who probably still owns that red polo shirt with the yellow writing. Which is okay, because sometimes I still wear my hair in pigtails, too.

Where did you and your spouse go to on your first date? Do you remember what he/she was wearing?




Jolina is a wife, mama, daughter, friend, and oftentimes stubborn child of God who loves dramatic soundtracks, old books, new places, abandoned trails, people-watching, telling stories, pulling weeds, and petting chickens. She's glad you're here.

10 thoughts on “Life, Love, and Mislaid Plans

  1. It was either a Sounds game or Subway, depending on which of us you ask. Of course, there were those shy talks in the parking lot serenaded by “militant catcalls and tactless remarks” from the junior high peanut gallery. 🙂

  2. I do remember what he was wearing! It was a silky, purple athletic shirt. We drove an hour to the mall to pick up the latest Veggie Tales VHS which he had reserved (King George & the Ducky) and somehow went from best friends to a couple during the drive. Then we picked up a friend who had gone home for the weekend and had to pretend like nothing had happened all the way back to campus.

    1. Oh, I love these stories! Thank you so much for sharing, Sparksofember. I am curious to know how you went from best friends to couple while in a moving car. 😉

      1. lol. I should mention Hubby has always said that we became a couple the day prior, on a hike on campus. But I didn’t realize the feelings were mutual until we were suddenly holding hands on the drive. And you can’t really be a couple until both of you realize it, right? 😉

  3. Jay’s and my first date was in a banquet hall at Harvest Drive Restaurant and Banquet Facilities, in of all places Intercourse, PA. Back in the late 70’s and it was my churches (Grace Fellowship of Ephrata) anniversary dinner. He got me a corsage of red roses. To which a friends dad said Holy Moses look at them Roses! We still recite that phrase when someone asks about our first date. The rest is history. (I have no idea what we wore, as neither of us can fit into them clothes any more) 😉

    1. Ha! I have heard about Harvest Drive Restaurant and Intercourse, PA, from my parents. Love this sneak peek at how you and Jay all began, Beth. Thanks for visiting and Happy Valentine’s Day with your honey! 🙂

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