I remember my first love. They say everyone does. I guess it’s not quite right to call it love now that I know love. In context true love is something entirely other, in fact. But first love; first love has that mix of heart engulfing emotion and teenage passion that we never quite get to experience again. That’s what makes it so memorable. Those years represent a time in life when we were ego centric and it seemed okay to be. We were teenagers.
I dated a senior who was from my town but not my school. I was just a sophomore. He was cyclist, a runner, student body president, and the homecoming king. I thought he hung the moon. His mom had passed away tragically when he was 14. His father had left his mother during her pregnancy with him. I guess, looking back the reason Human Services never intervened for him was because the man his mother had married was technically living with him. I say technically because this man managed road crews. The kind that travel for months at a time. My first love, had been on his own for the most critical part of his childhood. The fact that he was an amazing boy-man even through all of that is probably what attracted me and then held me in “love’s” grasp so strongly. He was an honor student and head of one of those anti drinking groups in his school. His friends were people who’d already experienced the toughest stuff of life with him. There for him through his mom’s illness and death, they became his family. It was a privilege to be around that brotherhood. It set a standard in friendship for me and I feel blessed by that still today.
When I look back on those days it’s as if this chunk of time were lived by someone else. The experiences were so poignant that the memories are still crisp and vivid. It’s the stuff of great drama and unimaginably deep and colorful characters. That time is sealed up tightly on a reel somewhere deep in my mind and when I visit it on rare occasion it’s like watching some sort of television series.. The kind of series you wish would never have to get canceled.
Oh, it’s not that I’d trade my one true love, that man I’m married to, whom I adore, to go back and make things work out. No, as I said before, first love is so very different from true love and true love wins every time. What I mean is; that was a very beautiful time filled with experiences that were all so new and fresh and I guess I just feel really blessed that they were so positive and that there are so few regrets. I know many people who’s stories of first love were difficult and painful. And it’s a gift to have memories like mine. Memories of a time that involves so much more than just a boy. These were the experiences of some sort of teenage community that we formed and that ended up forming us.
Last night I looked across the gym as my middle son interacted with his friends at a high school volleyball game. My son is a sophomore. He’s at the age I was when I met “the boy”. There’s this girl I know he likes. He’s been liking her for a while. And then there’s this other girl who likes him a lot and who I know he’s gotten close to. I watched from afar as teenage drama was played out in the student body section. Body language exchanged, side long glances, the brushing of a shoulder, a hand. Girls with their giggles and hair whipping turns to flirt with the boy behind them. Boys shoving each other around some sort of macho mating call I still don’t understand. I watched and I remembered. And I prayed. I prayed that my son would get to remember these days as something beautiful and priceless. That his memories would prove to be important, life shaping moments that hold little regret. That he’ll get to look back on these days realize that he learned something of grace and love mingled in all that poignant drama and teenage passion.
I can’t control what happens for him anymore. I wish I could. But this is his story now. It may not be as positive a chapter for him as it was for me, but he’ll learn and he’ll grow, and eventually, I know he’ll find true love, even if first love turns out to be something other. I have a feeling I know who she’ll be, the true love girl. Just, that mom sense we all have. But that chapter hasn’t been written yet. And I’m okay waiting a few years to find out.