I am pretty certain that I experienced my first feelings of “love”, as you might put it, when I was three years old. My feelings went unreciprocated, seeing as they were directed at the cartoon character, Christopher Robin, from the Winnie the Pooh VHS I watched on repeat. I don't have too many memories of those feelings, only that I remembered liking his voice and his British accent, and his cute little blue shorts.
My second “crush” was on a boy named Mason from my preschool class. Why I picked him to be the object of my affection is still a mystery to me, considering I could not describe him to you today. Maybe he was nice to me, or maybe all of the other little four year olds in the class thought he was cute, so I followed along. He probably shared his crayons and didn't pee his pants at recess. Preschool standards are pretty high you know.
When I was in the fourth grade I had a big crush on my cousins step brother (oh hey Chris!). Weird? Probably. But hey, I was nine and we aren't related so it was okay. I remember getting so excited when I knew I would see him. We would run in to each other at the beach, or my parents would take him and my cousin with us on ski trips. I thought he was the cutest boy in the world – maybe even cuter than Jonathan Taylor Thomas (definitely cuter) – and that was saying a lot. One day at the beach he gave me a silver shell necklace he found in the sand, and while it was just a plastic little trinket, I treasured it more than anything else. I wore it for the summer, then retired it to my jewelery box where it stayed for a long time. As most love stories go when you're nine years old, we parted ways after not seeing each other for months – which is like years when you're in elementary school. My cousins mom and his dad ended up divorcing and moving to separate towns, and I didn't ever see him again. However, I do know now, thanks to Facebook, that he is married to a gorgeous woman and they have an adorably perfect little girl together. I do have to say, for a nine year old, I know how to pick 'em.
My fourth grade relationship success was not the norm for me. Lets just say that from the age of nine to the age of seventeen was a dry spell. Sure I had plenty of crushes (hello ALL of PSC...) and there was the occasional flirty exchange, but it all went unrequited. Lets face it, I was pretty shy and kind of a huge nerd. I liked reading Shakespeare, writing in my journal, pretending to understand Sylvia Plath and trying to be as angsty as possible. It wasn't exactly an open invitation for a teenage relationship.
Despite my being a bit of a dramatic teenage dork, I managed to fall in love at the end of my junior year of high school. At that point, I had read so much Shakespeare and Jane Austen that I didn't think any high school boy would measure up to what I expected out of a boyfriend. I was surprisingly wrong. I have to admit, even fourteen years later, it was the perfect first romance. I fell hard and fast. It was that intense love that you only feel when your hormones are racing because you're seventeen and you don't know what you're doing because love is new and exciting. The blinders are on and everything is felt so strongly – nothing else mattered in those months. School was different because you had someone to walk through the halls with, hand in hand. And you don't even care that he wears shiny shirts in weird patterns with combat boots, because he's holding your hand and suddenly high school is bearable.
I'll spare the details on the heartache and sadness that inevitably come with a first love breakup. It sucks – a lot - and it's hard and it tears you apart and it makes you feel like you'll never be whole again because when that break up happens, it feels like it takes a piece of you with it. And to an extent, it does. Every break up changes a person, just like every love does. I believe that you have to go through those times to make you available for someone else to love you in a way that will show you how strong you can be, to show you that even if those pieces never come back together the way they once were, you are beautiful and capable of love with the pieces rearranged.
Patches were mended with other relationships – the cute college theatre major, the very handsome British ski instructor, the childhood friend who grew to be an incredible soldier, the high school friend who was (and is) always there – but there was always something missing, weather it was timing or distance or age. Nothing came close to feeling whole until the day I met my husband.
It was almost as if all of those experiences of love – even the little glimpses of them, from Christopher Robin onward – were all bundled up neatly and presented to me in one tall and handsome package the day I met Phil. Almost everything I had been wanting and waiting for I found in one person (I have to say almost, because, although I am probably the biggest romantic you will find, I know that no one is perfect. I know that I am certainly far from it. I am flighty, impulsive, overly emotional and often times unrealistic – not exactly perfect woman material). Those intense feelings were back, but not because of hormones or first-time-love excitement, this time it was real and adult and grown up. There were the strong feelings and attraction, the desperate questioning for answers on commitment – did he like me? Was he interested? Were we more than friends? Was he ready for another serious relationship? (See? Over emotional.) Thank goodness, the answer to all of those questions was “yes”.
I feel like I need to end this with “and that is how I met your mother.” But seriously, every love story is so unique. I think we usually think of a love story as how two specific people meet, but to me its how one person journeys through love, and all of the characters they find on the way. Its like Dorothy, you know? Each person you meet holds something special that has made you the person you are today. For me, for this particular chapter in my life, its all of the people that have shaped my love story. And that isn't limited to the few people I mentioned in this post – there are so many others, too. It doesn't even have to be people you were romantically involved with (I'm looking at you Christopher Robin, Taylor Hanson, Mr. Rochester and Laurie Lawrence), but rather someone who has helped you down the road to your love story.
I can't discuss my love story with out mentioning my best friend, who has been there since day one, always being the voice of reason for me. She is a large part of who I am today, and has helped shape me in to this adult version of myself. She has been by my side for every single break up, on the phone for every post-first-date break down, and always with a bottle of wine for every “he doesn't like me anymore” sob session. She understands my weirdness, appreciates my impulsive and flighty nature, and isn't afraid to tell me when I am being ridiculous or self destructive. She is strong and level headed, determined and fiercely loyal, loving and completely competitive. She is my true constant and one quarter-part of my other half. I hope that I have shaped her love story as much as she has made mine.
Happy Valentine's Day – and Happy Galentine's Day to my bff. Love you.
This recipe was adapted from another recipe found in a cookbook from the Colonial times. It is the simplest recipe for a quick and delicious breakfast. It is perfect for a Valentine's Day brunch, or a snowy morning breakfast. It can also be really fun to make with kids, because what kid wouldn't love to cook with snow?
• for the griddle cakes •
makes about 30 silver dollar sized pancakes
• 1 cup flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon cardamom
• 1 cup lightly packed fresh snow
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon rose water
• 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
• 1 tablespoon orange zest
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and cardamom. Set aside.
In a saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. Add the rose water and citrus zest. Stir continuously until the milk is heated but not bubbling.
Add the snow to the flour mixture and mix until melted and a dough begins to form. Add the heated milk mixture to the dough and stir until a smooth batter forms.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and melt the butter. Once the butter has melted and the skillet is hot, spoon pancake mixture in small round on to the skillet. I like to make mine like small silver dollar sized cakes. Flip the cakes once one side is golden brown and cooked. Remove from the heat once both sides of the cakes are golden.
• for the citrus maple syrup •
makes about a cup of syrup
• 1 cup pure maple syrup
• juice of one orange
• juice of half a grapefruit
• 1 tablespoon grapefruit and orange zest
Add all ingredients to a saucepan over medium high heat.
Bring contents to a simmer, and reduce for fifteen minutes or until the syrup thickens.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for twenty minutes.
Will keep in the fridge for a week.
listening to: Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straights (my most favorite song ever) ;o)