We met for the first time when we were twelve years old, my husband and I. It was the summer before we started Junior High and he had just moved into the neighborhood. My girlfriend thought that we might like each other and because she already had a boyfriend, I figured I should have one, too. Even though the very thought of it made me blush and sent my heart racing at the same time.
He was sweet. Shy and sensitive. I was awkward and still very much a bit of a tom boy, but we shared a love of listening to music and riding bikes and holding hands. The latter of which never failed to give me butterflies in my stomach.
The summer stretched before us with seemingly no end in sight, each day an exhausting adventure of swimming and playing hide and go seek or kickball or badminton outside until the street lights came on. We ate charred hot dogs and hamburgers from a charcoal grill, we roasted marshmallows and lit sparklers on the 4th of July. I would ride my white banana seat bike over to his house and he would play me his records and we would talk about growing up and what we would become and getting married and how many kids we might have. We wrote love letters to each other and gave each other little gifts from the drug store. An initial “K” on a gold necklace for me. A notebook for him.
My husband fell in love with my twelve year old self. He whispered it to me that summer. It would be many years before I returned those feelings; it happened when our path’s intersected in our 30’s and he confessed to me that he had never stopped loving me.
This is the story of how we met and then met again. It is woven into the fabric of our life, as hopelessly romantic as the two of us. We relish the chance to revisit it every time someone asks, “How did you two meet?” When I look back on it now, I realize how uncomplicated of a relationship it was back then; not quite kids anymore but blissfully far from the pressure and stress of teenage angst and insecurity.
There’s a new young man in my life now. He, too, is 12 years old. He is thoughtful and considerate. A perfect gentleman. He asked my daughter to a dance. And to come and swim at his house. He wrote her a note and professed his feelings for her. On his birthday, she gave him a leather notebook.
She cannot mention his name without blushing and smiling. She confides in hushed tones to me on those rare occasions she talks about it with anyone other than her best girlfriends. And although slow to arrive at the notion, she now refers to him as her boyfriend.
It is endearing and charming and perfectly innocent. I am thoroughly smitten and reliving my childhood all over again through the heart of my daughter and her first love. Time will tell how long this affection will last. But one thing I know for sure — she’ll never forget her first love.
By Kerrie L. Cooper
Does someone you know need these words today?
It took me some time to realize that I was on the wrong path. That the work I was doing for a living was no longer fulfilling me; actually was no longer working on any level. It seemed that satisfaction was no longer a given, despite a job well done. If I wanted to take pleasure in my work, genuine, heartwarming pleasure - I had to demand it. And then I had to create it.