It’s the last night of just the two of us– all three kids at their grandparents’ house for three glorious days of me and him and occasional spontaneity with nary a diaper in sight.
We’re already both in our pajamas, coming off a pizza- homemade frappucino- Monk binge that has left us a bit garlicky and glazed over. Still.
“We should go out,” I say, looking up from my email.
“You think so?” he asks lazily from the couch.
“It’s the last night without kids. We should go out and be crazy. Who knows when we’ll be able to go out this late at night again without a babysitter.”
We both agree to the rightness of this statement, and five minutes later we’re dressed and headed out the door to who-knows-where.
It’s 10:30 on a Sunday night, and we are livin’ wild in our green Dodge Caravan.
It’s hard to live wild when you don’t drink, do drugs, smoke, speed, or go cow tipping. I turn up the radio dangerously loud and he switches it to the classical station, causing organ music to belt forth from the speakers. I laugh.
We kiss at the red lights, stop for a Frosty and a cup of iced tea at Wendy’s, where the drive-through is open till 1:00.
We aren’t going anywhere but we sure are having fun doing it.
We tell stupid jokes, retell the same old ones that always make us laugh. I flip stations and spill Frosty down my pants and laugh. We are out on a country road in the dark, cruise control set stubbornly to the speed limit, pretending to be twenty again, just for a few minutes.
Not that we ever, ever drove on dark country roads back then, of course.
We have spent two and a half days kid-free, doing nothing exciting. We have watched a couple movies, eaten out a couple times, walked holding hands through the farmer’s market and a flea market and on trails at the lake. We have gone to bed early, slept in late, eaten salad with fresh tomatoes, and danced the slow, sweet dance of life together– a little slower and sweeter when we’re not tripping on children or toys.
We have laughed. It has been good to laugh.
And now, we sense it coming to an end– with joy, because this life with these little people is a blessing and a choice we have made and the dance might be crazier with them around but it is no less sweet– and we drive and laugh a little crazy and sing a little loud and then–
A flashing in the rear view mirror, and we are not wild now, pulling over, were we speeding, of course not, we never speed– and the officer is polite, asking for driver’s license and insurance cards and we aren’t really laughing now–
But he just wanted to make sure we knew we had a headlight out– a padiddle as my mom would call us, a reason to kiss on a country road in the dark (how my mother knows that is beyond me)– and we are driving again, convinced that it must be a slow night for police officers, heading home, because who wants to risk livin’ wild after that?
Maybe we aren’t really cut out for livin’ wild. Maybe we are just Art and Erin, Mom and Dad, Sweetie and Sweetie, husband and wife, lovers, friends, walking– running– dancing through this life of crazy and sad and happy and sweet and loud and quiet (not much quiet)– just living.
Maybe that’s okay.