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.