I fell in love when I was 16. It was literally instantaneous. One moment he was my friend, and the next moment, I just knew I couldn't live without him. I sort of had a fairytale romance idea of love. (Go figure) I completely expected adoration and devotion. I expected him to put up with my sass and indulge my quirkiness. But I was 16, and still had a lot to learn about love.
I'm twice as old now. And have spent half of my life with the boy I first fell in love with. (Oh yes, I found what I wanted and I held on. I beat off his other admirers with a stick-figuratively speaking...kind of.) And what I've learned is how priceless and beautiful is the love that I've been given. I took it for granted at 16, but I don't at 32.
For 16 years, he's been my biggest cheerleader and supporter of any, and all, of my dreams. He makes me brave. He sees me as I want to be, and not as I am. When my dad died in September, he grieved for the man that he loved as much as I did, privately, so that he could be strong for me. He still puts up with my sass and smiles at my quirks. He's my strongest defender, and on my best days, I don't deserve him.
I have this tidbit of memory of wrinkled, work worn hands holding a blue bound book and smoothing back the thick, creamy first pages as a gravelly voice read the dedication. Ever since, I have been unusually fascinated with dedications. They are my first stop in a book, and I often sit and wonder at the stories behind the words. I will probably never write a book. But if I did, I would dedicate it to my first love. And now you have a glimpse at the story behind the words. So here's to you, Chris Cummings, another 16 years won't be long enough.