It was one of those rare special evenings. The kind you wish you could plan for, but just as with a star shooting across the night sky, you never can predict the moment your night will light up with wonder and possibility. My 19-month-old had given us the gift of falling asleep early and was tucked soundly in his crib. This was our moment.
The mood was set. The timing was right. Waiting for me in the bedroom, my husband had turned down the covers.
I slid into bed. He put his arms around me and said, “The store had orange juice with medium pulp.”
An uncontrollable gasp escaped as I squealed, “They never have orange juice with medium pulp anymore!”
“I know,” my husband said, just as enthused. “It’s always heavy pulp or pulp-free. I bought two, babe.”
I was excited. My husband was excited. And as he kissed my forehead, I hoped aloud that I would have exotic dreams of orange groves and freshly squeezed juice. I looked to my husband; he was already asleep. The excitement for my night of fantasy slumber among the citrus fruit trees waned. Good grief, I thought.
It’s official; we’re an old married couple.
I was crestfallen. Finding out the tooth fairy isn’t real didn’t even come close to the full-bodied devastation I felt about the status of my marriage at that moment. Honestly, nothing has come close! Not the pubescent discovery of stray hairs growing on my toes. (I mean, ew!) Not learning that delicious blue cheese is just mold. (We’ve been eating mold, people! Double ew!) Not even that unspeakable time in my teenage years when an unlocked door led to the ultra-disturbing realization that my parents have sex. (Like, more than just the two times when they conceived children. Ew times infinity!) Even that horrific mental image paled in comparison with the distress of my current situation.
I wanted to shake my husband back into wakefulness and yell, “No, no, we’re too young to be this old!” But I knew that he gets cranky if he gets woken up and is likelier to snore if he is disturbed from slumber. Man, we’re so old!
Watching my husband sleeping, I looked to the universe for a sign that our pillow talk had not forever turned into a grocery list. That my version of sexting wouldn’t be reduced to a text stating that I need a plumber to unclog the drain and meaning it literally. That my idea of a dirty message on Snapchat would include my holding up two diapers in different sizes and asking, “Which one?” The universe didn’t respond.
How did we let this happen? Was it because our bathroom door broke?
I began thinking about all the things that get me excited these days. Edible bubbles, attachable drink holders on strollers. Learning that a baby in his car seat qualifies me for the car pool lane brought more uninhibited joy than all my travels, my wedding day and the birth of my child combined. If I had known about the car pool lane thing earlier, I would’ve gotten pregnant years ago!
And let’s not forget, medium-pulp orange juice. Can we all just take a moment and hail all that is wondrous about this juice. Pulp-free is about as natural as boneless chicken wings. Heavy pulp feels like a meal and gets stuck in the spout of my toddler’s sippy cup. But medium pulp gives you the crisp and satisfying feeling that you are eating fruit without all the work. Everything in life should be as easy and as delicious as medium-pulp orange juice.
I looked over at the bedside table, where my husband had left me a glass of juice to have before bed. Maybe this wasn’t the end of the world.
I met the man whom I now most often refer to as “Daddy” when I was 19 years old. I thought he looked dangerous. (He’s not.) Like a bad boy. (Nope.) And I thought he could teach me a thing or two. And he has. He has taught me patience, as he gets up every night to pace our sleep-resistant child back to bed. And support, as he nurtures my ambitions and our child’s. And that when a man sees the elusive medium-pulp orange juice at the grocery, if he really loves you, he buys two.