The first thing that came to mind when I saw this topic was my first 'boy' love,. It was in third grade and I was sure I was going to marry him. He was the only one for me. I was 8 and relatively new in this school and there he was looking absolutely perfect and HE thought I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Perfection! But ya know, Tim and I never even had a date! It was a brief mutual infatuation, but it was my first taste of romantic love. I still see him once in a while and we laugh about the third grade affair. It was not my first love.
I am not going to talk about familial love because that is so special and so incomparable to any other type of love and it is not going to be my subject today either. My family occupies 90% of my heart, if you care to measure love that way, but the other 10% is very powerful and also important. I am going to write about one of the major parts of that 10%.
My first love, the one I would have given my life for, if needed, was with me for a very long time and occupied by entire world. My family, if they are reading this, know that I am going to introduce you to Smokey. He was a little reddish colored cocker and something mix puppy my parents got when I was 4 years old. The first day we had him I was showing him off at my Grandmother's house and dropped him off her back porch, which, by the way, was a second story porch. Everyone thought I had just killed my most precious gift ever. Wrong! This little man-dog was as tough as his new owner. He was fine, a little confused when he landed and probably a little sore, but he got up and shook it off! Good dog!
We were together constantly. He wasn't allowed on the furniture, but he slept on my bed sometimes (if Momma didn't see him.) He played where I played with whatever I played with. I dressed him up and played house with him. I tossed balls for him. I petted and kissed him and loved him with all my heart. He was my best friend, my little 'brother', my baby...this little dog was my everything.
I was the last of three kids. One brother and one sister. We lived where there wasn't an overabundance of kids my age to play with until I got into school. Smokey was my constant companion and he was whatever I needed him to be. I loved him as much as I loved any of the people in my world and believe me, I loved all the people in my world!
When I was a senior in high school we had a horrid snow storm. One which required we stay off the roads because they were filled with 3 feet of snow. Just a day before the storm Smokey had to be taken to the Vet. He hadn't been eating well, wasn't drinking very much and not acting like himself. He was to undergo some tests for diagnoses. The doctor called us that afternoon and told us he couldn't do anything for our baby. He was just dying of old age. He was asking permission to euthanize him. What an awful decision to have to make for a 17 year old who didn't remember any day of her life without him! I couldn't be with him and I couldn't let him suffer and I couldn't say it was okay. It was NOT okay. Fortunately, I came around in short order and realized I couldn't keep him living just so I wouldn't have to live without him. I agreed and it was done. He was gone and 44 years later, I still love that dog and I still miss him. He was my first love.
Today we have 2 dogs. In all the years of my life I have had a dog or more than one. I can't stand the feel of my house without a dog to share my space. They have filled up my life and it all started with one little reddish brown fur ball named Smokey working his way into my heart and teaching me how to love someone more than myself and more than anything else.
The thing about first loves, no matter who they are, is that they are part of who we are today and that makes the memory of that love so strong and so rich!