First love.

I fell in love for the first time on a church baseball field. I had short, blonde hair cut in a pixie style--I'm fairly certain I brought a picture of Gwyneth Paltrow from Sliding Doors with me to the hair cut, so you get the idea.

I hadn't planned on going to the church activity; I didn't frequent them often. I worked at a salon after school, and my schedule was just off enough that I didn't really attend any after school functions because I needed the money and well, work was all that was constant at the time.

But for some reason, I went to that activity. I can't even remember what we did, but I remember standing in a large oval and looking to my right and seeing him. He was just standing there--tall and goofy, but handsome as hell. And I fell in love--like my mouth went dry and my brain went elsewhere. I had never seen him before, but somehow I had to meet him.

This is where the story gets a little foggy. I don't actually remember how I met him, but I did, and by the end of the night, he walked me to my car (I think a friend was with me?), and he gave me his phone number. Or maybe I gave him mine? Or maybe we just exchanged numbers? I don't remember. It's all a blur. It was 17 years ago.

But I fell in love that night. Of course, I didn't utter those words out loud for who knows how long. I'm sure one of my hand-written journals downstairs could tell me, but right now, I'm too tired and lazy to schlep downstairs and look for that information. Plus, it doesn't really matter.

I loved that man for a solid 4 years until one day I saw him standing outside a dorm room, and love felt different. It changed. He had changed. And so had I. And so we parted ways, and my heart ached for awhile because I couldn't figure out why I spent so much time loving him just to have it end. I never found a reason. I just think that's how life was meant to be.

But for the next several years I'd reflect on this man and our relationship, and I'd try talking myself out of believing it was real love because I had gotten married and had a baby or two, and it was just too much to even really consider that I could've actually loved someone other than the man I married.

I tried for years to erase that love, and in doing so, it made me crazy. I remember the day I realized it was okay for me to have loved another man for a time. I just sat there thinking about everything that this past relationship had done to boost my confidence, teach me life lessons (albeit several really hard ones), and feel beautiful (when I really didn't at the time). And more than all that--my first love gave me love during a time in my life when I didn't really know if love mattered. He taught me that it did matter. And it changed everything for me.

I've wanted to write about this for years, but I haven't out of respect for my relationship with Tim, but like I said earlier, time has taught me that it doesn't really matter if I loved someone before Tim. My first love was just as real as is the love I have for Tim right now, even though it is night and day different. In fact, I think the love I learned then taught me who I wanted to be and didn't want to be in a relationship, and Tim has been just the man to help me sort it all out.

So love--it's a complicated thing, but it really is so beautiful if you just let it be what it is.

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