One More For The Road

I thought given the fact that I just finished my 6th (holy crap, seriously, 6th?!) week of isolation, I needed to write about something a little lighter!

I met my first boyfriend at a skating rink where I used to figure skate poorly and play hockey a little bit better (I was a goalie, less skating is required!). I was young and he was a little bit older. I knew him for a full year before we started "flirting" - such as it is when you are young - and I remember when I first met him thinking how cute he was with his blonde hair that curled just a bit over his forehead. And yet years later when we parted ways, looking back, somehow all of it seems less cute to me!

I don't think back on him with wistfulness or any regrets but rather with a very thankful heart that my first foray into the romantic was with such a kind, respectful and sweet person. There is no doubt, my first boyfriend set the tone for future men in my life, and set an expectation for me that men would be kind and respectful. Turns out, that isn't always the case but I am glad that I had a role model in my past to remind me what I should expect.

My parents didn't dislike him, but given the situation and our age difference my parents were not pleased exactly. I remember my dad once telling me that they didn't want to take prohibitive measures against my relationship with him because I would defy it - and sure enough that did prove to be the case when it came to that. And in retrospect I can realize that of course my parents would have been skeptical about my behavior or my intentions because if I had a fifteen year old daughter now I would surely be at least a little skeptical, too!

However, my parents were not only just worried that I'd end up pregnant and alone, I don't think. I think they worried that I would settle before I had a chance to see what the world held for me. Looking back, I don't think they could have asked for a better first boyfriend for me either. Because, not only did he never pressure me physically (as my childhood best friend and I used to say, we would never "unshackle" for the wrong man or too soon!), he also did not want to do anything that would smother my potential for the future.

My first boyfriend really did believe in me, he believed I would grow up to achieve great things and he never wanted to be the thing that stood in the way of that. And even after our defiance to be together, we recognized as we got older that we were growing in different directions. And when the time came, we split apart in such a peaceful, affectionate way that is really set a false expectation of what future breakups would be like for sure!

He always had his own interests and passions. I was part of his life but I really appreciated even at a young age that he had other things in his life than me and I grew up wanting and respecting that my partner would have their own pursuits outside of me. It is healthy. He never made me responsible for his happiness, nor did he try to be responsible for mine which I think was so important.

He was also extremely dependable and emotionally stable. Despite our youth, looking back even now, my trust in him was well placed. He made a point of actively caring for me, being kind, being consistent. He set an expectation in me that this was the bare minimum in relationships - and so it was staggering in the years to come to find out not every man is like this. But it reminded me that it is is possible, and that I am worthy of it, and kept me searching for something that matched my expectations.

Even after we broke up, for a short time (until I moved to Texas) we kept in touch and occasionally would meet for an ice cream or something to just catch up. And as always he was kind, never snide or disrespectful at all. The aftermath of our youthful romance proved that all of his kindness and respectfulness was very genuine.

I believe he went on to marry, run his own business and have a handful of daughters and never lost his passion for the things in life that he loved and I am glad that we both moved on to things that were better for us. I rarely think about him, but I believe that first influence he had on me set an expectation within me that I carry to this day.

However, when I do think of him, I almost always think of the first time he kissed me. It was Christmas time and I was not expecting it at all (I had a huge piece of candy cane in my mouth!). We sort of stood there awkwardly after and then he said, "One more for the road" and kissed me again. And I just think it was such a dorky thing to do and every time I hear that phrase I always laugh and remember him.

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