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?