Monday, July 2, 2012

Strike Up the Band and Make the Fireflies Dance, Silver Moon's Sparkling... So Kiss Me

Sixteen years ago tomorrow (or today if I don’t get this posted before midnight), I had a kiss that changed my life forever.

Camp Paradise Valley
 I was only seventeen years old.  I was working as a camp counselor at Camp Paradise Valley on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee.  Just a couple of weeks before, I was sitting with several little Sunbeams, waiting for them to be picked up from camp, when a boy caught my eye.  I knew this boy.  We had been friends for a couple of years, and I had heard whispers the previous summer that he’d had a crush on me.  Though flattered, I’d had a boyfriend that summer and really hadn’t given him too much thought.  On this day, though, the sight of him made my heart flutter.  The year had been good to him… he’d grown nearly a foot and was looking quite handsome.  I was shy and nervous, but I took a deep breath, and silently encouraged my (single!) self to go up and say hello to him.  A couple of hours later, we were still sitting on a bench under a tree, chatting, laughing, and blushing.  

He left that afternoon, but we spent the next couple of weeks writing each other letters.  I gushed to my friends about him and counted the days until I would see him again.  I was very excited to learn that he’d be coming to camp the first week of July for an entire week.  When he arrived, we picked up right where we’d left off.  There seemed to be a sense of anticipation in the air, like we both knew our relationship as “just friends” was coming to an end… that there was something more for us, something special.  I remember one day, as we were walking up to the craft lodge for a class we were both taking, we talked a little about what it would mean for us to start dating, and he took my hand.  I almost went weak in the knees!

The next day, we shared our first kiss.  (We’ve argued in the years since about where this kiss took place.  He says it was on the basketball court.  I say behind the canteen!)  It was quick.  Barely more than a peck as we were saying goodbye for the afternoon.  Yet as I was walking away from him, I found it difficult to catch my breath.  My heart pounded.  I could think of little else. Though I was a pretty innocent young girl, I had kissed boys before, but this didn’t feel the same.  It felt real. 

That night, we were having a fireworks show in celebration of Independence Day, and we stood together on the porch of our upstairs dining room, watching the display.  I couldn’t tell you a single detail of the fireworks show – not a thing remains in my memory.  But I can remember what it felt like when his arm touched my waist.  I can remember the feel of his breath on my neck as he stood behind me, looking down. And I remember every second of that kiss. 
Smooching for 16 years

I might not have fully grasped its power at the time. I couldn’t have known then that I would kiss that boy a million more times.  I didn’t know that I would walk down an aisle in a lovely white dress, promise my life to him, and kiss him in front of everyone I loved.  I had no idea that I would move far away from everything I knew and have just his kisses some days to keep me going.  I couldn’t see that someday I would hear the words, “Come and meet your son,” and have that same boy kiss me as if all our dreams had come true.  I was unaware that years and years later, even through broken hearts, those kisses would help us find our way back home.

There is so much more to our story… and our story continues.

But it all began with a kiss.

Check out those clothes!  Bad fashion
or not - still kissable!

Summer Lovin' - my favorite picture of us

I will kiss him forever

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