Memoirs: When you still think of your first love

16 Jan

People experience a wide range of emotions when thinking of their first love. For some it is a positive thing that brings a smile to their face and for others it brings feelings of loss or regret. Sometimes it is even a little bit of each. First loves are different for everyone, some swear they experienced their first love very early in life, others in their teens, and yet more say they never really felt true love until they were adults. As such, we all think differently when thoughts of that person re-visit us.

A perfect example points back to many years ago when as a teen I asked my father about his first love after feeling devastated by being ripped away from mine through the cruelty of corporate relocation, not my own mind you, his. He took a deep breath and for the next to last time in my life invited me to hop up on his lap while he related the story of his first love. “She was a beautiful woman” he said, going on to describe so many little things that made her special; how she laughed, how she looked at him, the way he felt inside when he even did so little as just think of her. Imagine my surprise when I realized it wasn’t my mom he was talking about but rather a woman he met in Germany some 35 years earlier at the end of World War II!

He explained how special that first love was, and that even though it hurt to have to leave her behind, that experience was what prepared him for the greatest love of his life which was my mom. Over the years he explained we would likely fall in love with several people and that even though the “trauma” I was feeling leaving behind the girl I thought I was going to be with forever, my first love, may seem like the end of the world it was just the beginning. He even went on to relate how lucky I was to have felt love that felt that strong so young because unlike him, when true love approached again I would be ready to handle it.

I think of Tammy, my first love, often still. Sometimes I get the wild hair to see where life has taken her in the 25 or so years since we last spoke, but I never do. Instead I remember her as the cute little girl with honey blond hair sitting on the roof of a VW micro-bus waving to me as we drove by on our way out of town. I think about the days we passed notes in class, held hands sitting on a blanket watching the 4th of july fireworks, or even the first time I kissed a girl and realized I liked it.

When I think of that first love I think of how much I owe her even today. Were it not for her and the love we shared for each other who knows what life would be like for me now? Would I have been as good a student or athlete as I was because I constantly tried to keep up with her high standards of achievement? Would I have been as willing to accept that sometimes people are different from the majority, and that they are still okay and good people so young life? Would I have learned the lesson that love transcends all boundaries and that nothing should stand in its way, and if it does, you have to climb over it, go around it, or just knock it down and walk over it to get to that love we all deserve? The odds are I would not have learned those lessons or achieved what I have without that first love.

When I think of that first love the feelings are almost always good. Sometimes there is regret that we drifted apart a few years after we moved on. Sometimes I do worry about her and wonder if she remained the same sweet girl she had always been or if life beat her down and made her someone completely different. Mostly though I smile, for that first love was the love of childhood and innocence when it didn’t matter what others thought and there were no expectations or worries, just the moment and the feeling that at least for us the world was perfect.

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