First Love

He sat next to me in Kindergarten,

A lovely, blond-haired boy

With tons of freckles on his cheeks.

His blue eyes sparkled

When he spoke to me.

I was so enthralled by him

That I was speechless.

Dumbfounded.

Mute.

But when he took my hand and

Led me outside to the sandbox

I followed with misty eyes.

We played.

He created roads for the plentiful cars and trucks

While I created castles with lopsided spires.

He said words that I did not hear,

But I loved the rhythm of his voice.

The pleasant vibe he created.

He made me smile.

At the end of playtime,

He offered me a red plastic ring.

He told me I was his girlfriend

And then held my hand as we lined up

To go inside.

I glowed.

Not only was he my first boyfriend,

He was my first friend.

His tenderness enchanted me,

A lonely kid who had felt unloved

Until the moment

When he reached out with such unabashed passion

That I could not resist.

He lit my flame, my passion

For love.

Unfortunately when the year ended

We went to different schools.

I never saw my love again,

But I never forgot the yearning I had felt

When so young that I didn’t understand

The meaning of his gestures.

First love.

A momentous feeling.

Lonely Heart

When you are by my side

My heart glows with happiness.

You and I are one,

Have been for many years,

But more so recently.

And so when we are apart,

I am not whole.

Half of me is missing,

Vanished. Disappeared.

As if magic has erased your caring,

Your tender touch, your loving.

Even though I know you are not far away,

You are not here, by my side.

My heart aches for you.

It is lonely until we are reunited

And then all is well again.

The Story of Our Love

 

You appeared when I needed you most.

I was searching for someone to love me,

And there you were!

Standing in the office with a smile on your face,

Welcoming me, encouraging me, helping me

Transition to a new office, new rules, new expectations.

 

Your friendship turned into a workplace romance.

When I looked into your baby-blue eyes

I saw a kind heart, a caring individual

Looking back at me with love in his eyes.

Someone who would care for me like no one had ever done before.

 

Our engagement was a whirlwind, a time in which we loved

Deeper and deeper, no holds barred.

When you proposed, my world spun into crazy love

An incredible happiness beyond definition.

When the day finally came, I saw only you

As I walked down the aisle.

 

Since that day, 43 years ago, we have shared everything.

We raised three wonderfully talented children

Who have grown into amazing adults.

We stood as family through tough times

And laughed together when things were going great.

You were there for me when work disappointed

And I stood by you when work made you miserable.

We didn’t always agree, but we promised to never let anger simmer,

And we didn’t.

 

As time passed, our love morphed into a deeper relationship.

You are my best friend, my confidant, my encourager

Who props me up and keeps me going.

You give me freedom to explore my talents,

Even if it means straying far from home.

And are sad for me when my hopes are dashed.

 

Our story has had many climaxes, many challenges,

Many periods of joy and trouble,

But those bumps only served to enrich

What we have.

Our love is never-ending.

And for that, I am grateful.

 

Love Is:

Love is everlasting.

It does not flit about,

Landing here and there,

Staying just long enough

To make someone believe,

And then disappear, crushing hearts.

 

Love speaks volumes.

There are not sufficient words

In the world to express how

Wonderful love feels,

How comforting and refreshing

It is to be cherished.

 

Love is not ego-driven.

One doesn’t love in order to

Be loved in return.

Love stands on its own,

Not needing props or

Constant adulation in order

To grow or to exist.

 

Love defies logic.

Scientists can’t find a love gene

Or a verifiable cause,

But they can find symptoms,

The obsessions, the desires

That compel individuals toward

Each other.

 

Love is strong.

It stands alone among the harshest

Of winters, the heat of summers.

It outlasts earthquakes, tornadoes

And hurricanes.

Yet musclemen cannot grasp it

Tightly enough to lift it.

 

Love is a gift.

It does not come in pretty packages

Tied up with ribbons and bows,

Yet it is wonderful to open

Over and over and over again,

Each time with the same sense of

Pure, unadulterated joy.

 

Love is special.

For some, it only happens

Once in a lifetime, yet it is

Desired by every living being,

Especially by those who have been hurt.

 

Love speaks her name

In soft voices.

In kind gestures.

In caring touches.

In the way eyes look

And lips gather

Expressing the joy of simply being.

 

Love is all that and more.

 

 

 

Grandma’s Gift

When I was a little girl, probably five or six years of age, someone gave me an old, cheap plastic doll. It’s arms and legs moved and I could rotate its head a bit to the right or left. Its hair was painted auburn and its lips a light shade of red. It was nothing fancy, but it was mine.

And when you’re poor, you appreciate those hand-me-downs more than a rich kid receiving another shiny toy. So that doll meant a lot to me and I brought it everywhere I went.

At the time we lived in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, in a housing development that I later understood would have been called projects.

My older brother was the bain of my existence even then. He teased me, pushed me around, took things from me and ridiculed my appearance and my parents did nothing to stop him. As a small child, I understood the power he held over me and the lack of presence I had within the family unit.

Anyway, my mother’s parents lived in Galipolis, Ohio, a long drive from home. They lived so far away that we usually only visited them once a year. While we had little, they had even less. We had furnace heat, they warmed their house with coal. We had running water in the bathroom and kitchen, they had an outhouse which terrified me and a pump in the kitchen that poured out the coldest, most refreshing water I’d ever tasted.

On one journey to visit my grandparents I brought along my doll, as usual. During the ride, my brother took it away from me several times which brought me to tears. He would eventually give it back, only to steal it away almost immediately.

When we arrived at my grandparent’s house, after getting hugs from Grandma, I went outside on my own to play with my doll. My brother followed me. A chase began, which I lost due to my shorter legs and slower-moving body.

My brother stole the doll, threw it on the ground and stomped on it. He repeated this over and over until the arms, legs and body were little more than shattered pieces of plastic. I howled, long and loud.

My grandma came to investigate and listened carefully as I told her the tale. She chastised my brother and told him to go sit in a chair on the porch. She took me inside and wiped off my face. Gave me a cup of cold water. And held me close, brushing my hair off my reddened face.

When we left that night, of course there was no doll to take home. Months passed. In time I forgot about my doll as I moved on to other things. I colored obsessively, filling page after page with drawings that I meticulously colored, staying within the lines.

The year passed and nothing changed in my life. My brother still teased, pushed, pulled, pinched and ridiculed. My parents still did little to stop the abuse.

When summer came we returned to my grandparent’s house. As always, Grandma greeted me at the door with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. But then a most magical thing happened. Slowly, ever so slowly, she pulled something from behind her back. It was my doll!

Actually, to be precise, it was my doll’s head attached to a hand sewn body.  The doll was now made of some type of beige cloth. It had lines to indicate fingers and toes. It had underpants, a slip and a dress. It was beautiful!

I brought it to my chest, tears in my eyes. The words of thanks whispered from my lips.

Then my grandma turned to my brother and told him that he had better, never take that doll from me or he’d have to answer to her, and she would not be gentle.

My grandma gave me a most precious gift. It goes beyond the doll and its clothes. She gave me a symbol of love. A toy that made me feel special. Unique. But most importantly, loved.

I still have that doll. It is now more than 62 years old and it occupies a place of honor in my house. Whenever I see it, think of it, it speaks to me of the one person who loved me as I am.