I have been married to my soul mate for sixteen years. The first time we saw one another was passing in the hallway of our college, where we exchanged our first smiles. Later that day we met again in ceramics class. After two months of flirting and long glances across the room he finally asked me out on our first date. That was the beginning of our love story.
Before meeting my prince charming I dated other boys. Each of you knows who you are. Some broke my heart and others whose hearts I broke. Looking back in my rear view mirror I realize that each one, whether it was one date or many, helped to prepare me to make the right selection of my husband.
Courtship is a natural and amazing experience beginning innocently at a very young age. There was the 2nd grade valentine exchange. I used my crayons and glitter to hand make my valentines. I hoped to receive one from everyone in my class, but especially the cute boy who sat two rows behind me. Of course we also had the candy hearts to share and eat. We took the inscriptions on those little hearts very literally. “Cutie pie” and “I love you” was a particular favorite. We would nibble on them and giggle and dream innocent dreams.
As I got older my methods of communication evolved. In the sixth grade there was the skillful art of passing notes avoiding teacher’s interception. My preferred note left no middle ground. “Do you like me?” Circle yes or no. “Do you want to go out with me?” Circle yes or no.
I recall the 8th grade dance where we swayed side to side to Jon Bon Jovi’s “Never Say Goodbye.” My most vivid recollection was patiently waiting for that certain boy to ask me to dance. I would become weak in the knees as he finally approached me and my group of girlfriends thinking, “finally.” Instead he asked my best friend to dance. This heartbreak lasted for days.
High School delivered a roller coaster of emotions from crushes, dates, breakups, and make-ups. I would doodle on my brown paper bag covered textbook MRS. PATTY (insert my boyfriend’s last name). Dreaming of what our future children would look like rather than paying attention to math equations. When you are young the idea of being in love comes easily. I remember the butterflies in my stomach with my first kiss and the crushing feeling heartbreak unleashes in that same stomach. It was difficult to understand why these relationships “didn’t’ work.”
“Back in my day” we couldn’t cyber stalk our ex-boyfriend’s activities so we stalked in other ways. The “drive by,” when my friends and I would hop into the car and drive slowly past our ex-boyfriends homes to see who was there and if there were another girl. Sometimes we would call him up on the phone over and over hanging up each time. (No caller ID to identify us) Then there was the infamous “three way phone call.” This was the sneakiest of all our tactics. A friend would call your ex-boyfriend to talk about you while you are quietly listening on the third line. Looking back these were silly things, but those moments helped you get through heartache until the next love came along.
I am grateful to all the boys who came in and out of my life. But I am most grateful to the one who stayed by my side and gives me his love every day.
Happy Valentine’s Day!