We talked about love. Our current love lives, and ones gone by. We talked about heartache and tough choices. We talked about happiness...real happiness, and how it's obtained. We talked about having a heart that is worth the effort...the chase. We resolved some things, and we left some pages un-turned...because, for some of her young heart's questions, I don't have the answers. But at the end of it, I promised her I would blog about what the majority of our conversation was about: loves lost.
Because right now she wants answers, and she needs to see that I can relate. That like her, I too have had my heart broken into 1,000 little pieces and I lived to tell about it. And while I've never been one to dig up old wounds, I will for Kasie. For you. Because even though I'm married, I am no stranger to being broken. And I still carry some of those aches with me. I still get a twinge of pain when a memory or a face creeps up on me, and there are still songs I can't listen to on the radio. Such is life. It truly is a beautiful mess, and this is the story of my heart.
My parents were very strict about when I could start dating. In fact, I didn't go on my first "real" date until I was 18 years old, and that date was with my husband. But, anyway, my parents just knew I would make choices that would alter my life, and in hindsight, I know now that they were right. But, at 16 years old, I thought they were stupid. The dumbest people on planet earth. And shortly after my family made the move to a new church with a new youth group, I started "going out" with my very first boyfriend: Dane*. Dane was two years younger than me, and we fell victim to the current fad that was popular among many of my other 10th grade girlfriends: dating middle school boys (don't judge me!). Dane was sweet. He bought me my first piece of jewelry ( a beautiful necklace), and he gave me my very first kiss in the back of the church bus on the way home from some youth group function...ice skating, maybe?! Anyway, it was awful. Most of his kisses were. And we lasted a record 3 months before he finally called it quits for another girl. I was heartbroken. I cried and listened to Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Cyndi Thompson for months! Here I was, my first and only time in the public school system, and I was official boyfriend-less. Something you DID NOT want to be in the clique I idolized from the outskirts. It was a tough time in my life: new school, new friends, first broken heart...awesome.
After the break-up, I visited my old school to watch a boys basketball game. I met up with all my old friends, and got to talk to the boy I had been in love with since I was six years old: Max*. Max was SO cute, and anytime that boy so much as looked at me, my heart would do somersaults. Our families had been friends for a long time. They came over to my Grandma's to go swimming, my sisters and I spent many summer afternoons over at their house, and his oldest sister was my favorite babysitter. We were already inseparable, so after that game when he started calling me and seeing me as something other than childhood playmate. I was ecstatic. I only spent a year at public school, and the fall of my junior year, I went back to private school. Max and I were together off and on for almost a year. I have some wonderful memories of him, and those seem to overshadow the terrible ones. We were so mean to each other after we finally broke up for the last time. We said terrible things, and in a small school I felt like Hester wearing her scarlet letter. He broke up with me, right as my parents marriage crumbled. It was truly a dark time in my life, but I feel like I grew from the experience. I still consider Max a good friend. We email occasionally, and as adults we've evolved into amazing people who can accept the role we each played in the others life.
After Max, there were the "flings". It was the spring and summer before my senior year, and I was finally old enough to date in my parents eyes, so I went crazy. First, there was Sam*: the sweet country boy who charmed me with horseback riding and the massive teddy bear he left for me at school on Valentine's Day. We barely made it a month, but it was a sweet month. After Sam, I met Christopher*. Chris and I dated briefly during the summer before my senior year. He was a musician. He played the guitar and sang me the sweetest songs. To this day, "Best I Ever Had" by Vertical Horizon is one of my favorite songs. He was SO cute, definitely one of the most attractive guys I have ever dated, and he liked ME. It was the best summer. We parted on good terms, and to this day I call him my friend. He was the first boy to give me confidence. He allowed me to see myself as beautiful, and for the first time, I believed it.
During my "relationship" with Christopher, my friendship with Randy started to evolve. At the time something was forming, and I didn't even see it. I didn't even realize it until months later when he told me how upset he had been when I agreed to date Chris. There I was thinking we were just friends, and he was waiting in the wings for more. After Chris and I broke up, thing progressed quickly with Randy.
I can remember everything. I remember the first time we held hands driving home in the pouring down rain. I remember our first kiss on the tailgate of his red Ford truck. I remember the first time he told me he loved me, and that afternoon, 3 months after we started dating, we he gave me my promise ring. And for most of the last nine years that boy is all I've ever known, with one exception: Kyle.
I met Kyle the summer before I went away to college. The summer that my sister and I bused tables at the same local restaurant. Kyle was a waiter there. Kyle was older, and even though I was dating Randy at the time, we became close friends. We flirted and our friendship turned into more. It was a time in my life when I was confused, and I wanted to be sure that the decision I had made at 18 years old wasn't the wrong one. I have never regretted my "relationship" with Kyle, but to this day I don't like to talk about it. But, I promised Kasie I wouldn't hold back, so here I am for the first time admitting that Kyle was a great love of my life. Next to Randy, he is the most memorable. He's the one I remember EVERYTHING about, and to this day the scar still hurts. I see him around town, and I still can't look at him...8 years later. I now know that he was just a chapter in my life. He made me ask questions of myself I had never asked before, and he helped me recognize what I truly want in life: to be loved completely for everything that I am. And as much as I miss Kyle, I know he couldn't of given me that. He wasn't the right choice.
Randy has always been the one. He is my safety net. The one who knows me better than anyone else. He is an amazing provider and father, and in many ways he is everything my parents ever wanted for me. The last year has been rough, but we are still moving forward. Friday is our 5 year wedding anniversary...5 years! (How can I possibly be this old?!) And the last 5 years have been the best years of my life in many ways. I don't regret the other boys, or the roles they played in my journey. They each played their part beautifully. And it's just like the song says, "God bless the broken road that lead me straight to you." Every lost love, and every heartache lead me to the boy who would take all my pieces and put them back together. The boy that would fight for me...for us. The boy who still gives me butterflies every time he looks at me.
I guess that's what life is about, Kasie. It's about the journey. The journey we take that gets us to the right place. The place we are SUPPOSED to be. And the truth is that true love is not butterflies, flowers, and sweet nothings. It's that comfortable silence. It's being able to laugh with and at each other. It's fighting until your too tired to say another word. It's making up. It's holding hands while you look fear and doubt in the face. Because even when the fire blazes, and the world threatens to turn you to ash...you know you will always have each other. It's not supposed to be perfect. It's just supposed to fit. And when you find the one, he won't care about how many pieces your heart is in, he will just get to work putting it back together for you. Trust me, when you find that you'll know. And if you've already found that, but lost it, don't worry, you'll find your way back someday. Trust me.
*some of the names have been changed to protect their identities.