Fifteen years ago today, Jason and I went to the Keg and to the movies on our first date. In some ways, it seems like a long time ago now, and in other ways, it feels like no time at all has gone by. I think all of life is like that, especially as you hit your mid-thirties and you have no idea why time has to go so incredibly fast.
When I think back to how I felt on May 4, 1996, as a 23 year old girl really falling in love for the first time, I can almost summon those tiny butterflies flitting around in my stomach and catching somewhere in my throat. Those heady days of attraction are charged with emotion and excitement, and you don't know when you are experiencing them that they will never come in that exact way again. I wish I would have paid better attention, but I do find that fifteen years later I can summon what we did and how I felt with reasonable accuracy.
I think I sensed deep down that it was something special. All I knew about love was gleaned from romantic movies and books, and anything I'd been able to observe happening in my circle of friends. Imagining anything is always different from the reality, but the feelings of falling in love did not disappoint for me. It was magic, the kind you could feel in your body, and I daydreamed for hours about him when we weren't together, and when we were side by side we were holding hands and time seemed to lose all meaning and grind to a halt.
I've loved the process of writing my novel about marriage, because I've been able to go back to those early days with Jason, and attempt to describe how it all felt. It's good to remember. I'm glad we've added two children and a thousand layers to our relationship since that first date, for our history together has deepened our affection and added chapters to our story, but there is nothing like the initial feeling of falling in love, and it truly doesn't last forever.
If I had the choice to go back fifteen years to the anticipation I felt for our first date, I would pass on the opportunity, because I like where I am now much more. But memory is an amazing device, for we can go back over our best and worst experiences at any time we choose, and I'm grateful today for the opportunity to remember. Before too long it will be time to walk through those heady feelings with my kids, when the conditions are right for them to fall in love. I'm excited about that already, and I look forward to sharing more of my own love story with them as they get older.
We all have incredible stories. One of the benefits of age is looking back with a bit more leisure, and passing on what we have experienced to others. I like the vantage point from this mid-way place, where there is so much to look forward to, but also a treasure trove of past experiences to remember and enjoy. Today I'm so glad that Jason and I went on that first date, and that I had the good sense to fall for him, and that he reciprocated those feelings. Our lives have been immeasurably changed by the emotions we felt fifteen years ago, and I find it very difficult to imagine my life now without him in it.