My first “official” boyfriend was a young man named Pat. We were 14 years old. He was such a good guy. I am sure he still is. I don’t know how many actual “dates” we went on as high school freshman, but on our first date we went to a carnival/bazaar at a local church. It was great and awkward and wonderful and everything a girl’s first date should be.
My first husband and I met when I was 18 years old. Our first date, where we “happened” to meet each other after being set-up by a mutual friend, was at a bar – our favorite underage watering hole. Eight years later, we were married. Sadly, seven years after that, we were divorced. But during those seven years, I was blessed with the gift of three small miracles – a girl and two boys. For this, I will always be grateful.
My new husband and I had a very special, five-month long courtship over the phone and via text. He made me laugh like I had never laughed before. We knew each other for years – since my early 20s – as he is the brother of one of my dearest friends, but it took those extra 15 years of living separate lives and then five months of reconnecting and building a solid friendship before we finally reunited at a local restaurant for our first date. After drinks, we didn’t want the night to end, so we did the next logical thing – we went bowling (you know I must of have been falling hard because I hate bowling). Fast forward to today and we are happily married with five children (three from my previous marriage; two from his). I cherish this man and the family we have so beautifully blended together.
Those are the three dates with the three men I choose to remember. The three first dates that are worth remembering.
I added one more this past weekend … it was a different kind of date – not one of romantic feelings, yet the strongest love you can feel for another person. I went on the best date of my life – with a 10-year-old boy; my oldest son, Joey.
Hand-in-hand we walked to the station platform, and he cuddled up to my warm coat to try and escape the frosty chill of the air. As the train approached, he cautiously held me back, nervous that we may get too close to the edge. Once on the train, our conversation never stopped as he excitedly talked about the basketball game we were going to see and all the players he admired as I pretended to know who and what he was talking about. I probably would have preferred to play Candy Crush during our 53-minute ride to New York City, but when would I ever get this time back and his undivided attention? He wanted to hang out with me. He wanted to talk with me. He wanted this time. Candy Crush could wait. Keep talking Joey…
When we arrived at Penn Station, again he carefully took my hand and said “watch the gap” which all LIRR train riders know means to clear the few inches between the train and the platform. Outside on the city streets, still hand-in-hand, he marveled at all the tall buildings. He was mesmerized. I was so in love with his amazement.
Once in Madison Square Garden, we stocked up on supplies – water, a pretzel, and popcorn – before heading to our seats. “Hey mom, do you think we can get cotton candy later, too?” Sure Joe. Who needs dinner, anyway?
The rest of the night was more of the same … Joey was excitedly watching his favorite players, and I was excitedly watching Joey enjoy our evening. Swish! Slam dunk! Two points!
On the train ride home, he put his head on my shoulder and thanked me for the greatest night of his life and told me I am his best friend. HIS. BEST. FRIEND.
I will hold on to that night in my memories as long as I am blessed to live on this earth as his mother.
As parents, we only want what is best for our children. One day, I know Joey will find the love of a lifetime and will treat her the way the love of a lifetime should be treated. Until then, I am sure he will sweat through a bunch of first dates and possible heartbreaks.
But through it all, I am confident that my boy will always cherish his first true love – his momma; his best friend!