Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dear Peter,

Dear Peter,

I was sixteen. Sixteen.

I saw you and immediately identified my challenge because you were so damn hot. I knew right away I'd have to be smooth and I'd have to work quickly if I wanted to land this prize. This was not going to be easy.

Looking around the circle of camp counselors with whom I would be sharing my summer, I assessed my competition. After all, here we were at staff week, the campers would arrive in a few short days, and time was a wastin'. Unfortunately, I could tell that there were several girls sitting on the pine floor of Main Lodge with us who shared my summer dream. Their combination hairflip/giggles were such a giveaway. I was going to have to take this job of snagging you very seriously.

I studied the 40 other girls in the room. We had all come to camp for the benefits of the great outdoors, friendships, swimming, leadership opportunities and personal growth for sure, but we also had our secrets. We knew we wanted to experience some big firsts this summer, and we'd really like it if it could be with ummm...let's see...YOU. Smokin' hot YOU.

I went in early and I went in strong. I never looked back. I was smitten beyond my wildest sixteen year old dreams. You had unbelievable shoulders. Your abs? Holy abs. Your hands were worn and strong from the manly work you had been doing with hammers and axes and ropes and things I knew nothing of. At night you smelled faintly of Irish Spring and Chaps. You had a carefree laugh that made me melt. You talked about the fact that you were going to college in the fall. You were completely irresistible to me. I was putty.

We sealed the deal that summer. I literally tackled my dreams.

We kissed to Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Stevie Nicks, Elton John and UB40. We laid on our backs next to the lake listening to the bullfrogs, telling stories and counting shooting stars. We built and stared in to fires and more fires. We drove to Vermont so that you could buy beer legally. We went for walks and played the alphabet memory game: "Apples, bananas, catnip dishtowel..." That summer you let me give you what would end up being the first of hundreds of haircuts. I could imagine playing with you forever more.

Who could ever have guessed that all of the reasons that I fell for you that summer at camp would end up catapulting us in to a marriage based on things deeper than deep? How can it be that we and the fates have taken care of us so well? At the beginning, I saw you as the hottie you were, but I couldn't have known that you would be the only living person who can snap me out of a funk or reconnect me when I slip away. I knew your shoulders, hands and abs were strong, but I had no idea they had nothing on the strength of your character. I knew you played with hammers and axes that summer, but I never could have imagined that you could replace the facia and soffets on our home.

When we were counting shooting stars, I couldn't have known that you would teach me endless things about faith not in god but in the strength of human beings. I could never have known that at sixteen.

We've now welcomed and embraced two astoundingly beautiful children, and we've mourned the loss of two parents and a brother together. That summer we built fires while we built a foundation for something both strong and somehow magical. How could we have known?

To be sure, I'm still putty.

Love, Susie


anymommy said...

Beautiful and lucky. Your writing brings tears to my eyes, but your love is so...strong? takes my breath away.

I met my husband at sixteen and I have the same wonder all the time, that what amounted to a girly crush could become a truly incredible relationship.

DCD said...

I was expecting a post about teenage love angst. How amazingly wrong, and happily so, was I!

A wonderful tribute to your Peter. And how incredible for you both that you have been able to share your life together for such a length of time.

Vodka Mom said...

That was so incredible. It was wonderfully written, and like anymommy, brought a tear to my eye. crap.

I'm married to my 16 year old first guy, also. But that's a LONG story.

Jen W said...

I'm with DCD- I thought it was going to be a walk down memory lane with a boy who broke your heart. I'm so glad it wasn't and that Peter turned out to be The One. What an amazing love letter.

goodfather said...

Absolutely beautiful post. Wow.

I loved summer camp too ;).

bernthis said...

You are one lucky lady. I divorced a man after 14 years and it's been 4 years since then and I'm still very single. I would give so much to be able to sit down and write what you did about the man in my life. I hope it's not too late.


Laggin said...

Ah. You're the ONE. The one who found a decent one while still a teen.

If I had picked at 16? Wow. What a bad, bad pick it would have been.

Lovely post.

Anonymous said...

I love your writing and your blog.

Found you through Cii

I will be sure to come back..
OH...what part of New England? I grew up in NH.

Ms Picket To You said...

sigh. teary. wow.

Zip n Tizzy said...

Along with DCD and Jen W I immediately went to angst, yet the talks under the stars sounded too much like friendship. What a lovely post! Sounds like you know a good thing when you see it.

flutter said...

ok seriously, do you even know what an incredible writer you are?

Rednight55 said...

Amazing writing! Your post really spoke to me. You're both so lucky but I know it takes more than luck. It requires a lot of patience & hard work through the tough times too. You both continue to appreciate each other no matter what may come!

I also met my husband when we were in high school. There we formed a bond & built a foundation (much like your husband & yourself) that would endure through time. I am still in awe, 16 years later, how we found our 'perfect match' without knowing it when we were so young & then grew together as teenagers & adults. Now we have a wonderful life with two wonderful children. I know every night my wish for a prince came true!