Everyone has that one iconic moment in their lives where they look back and realize that was a major turning point. For some it happens sooner than for others, and for some these moments occur more than just once or twice. There is always one where you realize you have morphed from a child into an adult complete with freedom and responsibility. Sometimes there is one that shapes you into who you are today. Sometimes there is one that throws you off the path you thought your life was supposed to follow, but instead takes a completely different direction.
I often think about the turning points in my life. The first was my biggest and forever changed my outlook on myself, the people in my life, and my future. I look back on that time in my life when I was only 18 years old, and even though at the time it was one of the hardest times of my life, I wouldn't change a single thing. I went through everything I did so that I could become who I am today. That moment also made me realize I was becoming an adult, and that it was time to put away silly school girl fantasies and welcome myself to the reality of life.
About two weeks before my 18th birthday I met the first and only guy I ever truly loved besides my husband. He is the only guy who is not related to me to ever hear, "I love you," from my lips. Don't get me wrong, I dated a lot, but my love was never something I threw around frivolously. It meant something to me, and so I would only bestow it on men who really, truly deserved it. My mother often told me I was cold hearted when I didn't care after I broke up with guys. She never understood I never got emotionally attached unless I thought the guy had some serious potential.
For the next 7 months, our relationship had the classic Romeo and Juliet feel, right down to burning the candle from both ends. He lived three hours away from me, but we met at a weekend high school honor band function held at one of the state universities. The funny thing is, I was there to hook up with a guy I had met there the year before. But this new guy wouldn't have it. He wouldn't give me up for the world. He saw me going after the man I was there to pursue, but he intervened every chance he got. Eventually the other guy just backed down. To the victor went the spoils.
We decided after that one weekend that we wanted to be together and would do whatever it took to make it happen. He was more determined than I was and had the means to make it possible, so he did.
We would talk on the phone every single night for hours. He drove three hours out to my house almost every single weekend. Some weekends he would drive out to pick me up and take me back to his house, doing two 6-hour round trips in one weekend. I still can't believe his parents were completely okay with it.
Our love was sweet and gentle. It started out softly, and it grew stronger by the day. He was the first and only guy who ever wrote me love poems and letters. All of which are safely tucked away in my cedar chest. I had kissed many guys before him, but I had never french kissed before him. He was my first. I had thrown away my first kiss on a guy who was not worthy, so I had to makeup for the horrible first kiss by making the first french kiss special, meaningful, and full of desire.
We loved each other so much. We often talked about running away to Reno to get married. We went so far as to buy wedding bands, and once had his mother obtain a marriage certificate for us so we could fake out our friends. More than once we would get in his beat up little Ford truck and hop on the freeway to Reno. We would drive and say, "I am serious. I want to do this. Are you sure you do?" We were both serious. But for some reason, we never made it. Who knows why, perhaps it was divine intervention. I don't remember ever turning around or one of us backing out. Chances are I was the one who always got cold feet.
I thought or chances of ending up married one day were really good. We had a plan that included him building our house on a ranch where we could raise all sorts of animals and start a big family. We both wanted five kids. It all seemed so perfect.
I was still a naive child. My eyes were about to be opened.
To keep this post from being seriously long, I am going to break it up into two parts. Tonight I want to leave you with the warm, fuzzy part of the sweet innocence that is young love. Wrap yourself in it and breathe it in. Ah to be young again and experience all the thrills of the chase.