It was 12:30 a.m. and my poor husband couldn't sleep a wink because he was coughing nonstop after picking up the kids' colds. So I rolled out of bed, drove to the 24-hour Giant in my pj's and grabbed a bottle of Robitussin. Got in line to pay behind a twentysomething couple obviously on a date, giggling and holding hands, their only purchase a quart of milk and a bag of cookies. If you're lucky, I thought, in 71/2 years you'll be back at the Giant, buying him cough medicine in the middle of the night.

Debra Scheinberg

Bethesda

"Happy birthday! You have to get up, we're late," whispers my husband at 4:08 a.m. Our son smiles at us sleepily, warm in the car. I look at Levi and say, "If we ever become fantastically rich and you have women throwing themselves at you, remember me on my 23rd birthday, bagging newspapers in the wind and rain because I love you enough to have married you when you're poor." On the way home, the radio announcer names all the famous people with birthdays today. He tells us regular people to keep dreaming the impossible dream. I always am.

Charlotte Criss

Crofton

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