But, yet, we dated. Dated as fifteen year olds do - hung out after school, watched TV on the weekends with friends, ate ice cream at Ben & Jerry's.
Now that I think back on it, I have no idea how long we dated - weeks? months? Truly, my very fuzzy memory has no idea. I do know that we eventually became friends after we broke up. We have pictures together on graduation day. He picked me up from the airport my sophomore year at college so that I could surprise my mom with an unscheduled visit. When my mom was in the hospital after her mastectomy, he took me out to Ben & Jerry's, where we spent our silly teenaged dates, to comfort me with a milkshake. Bottom line, he was good, kind guy.
One day, somewhere in our teenaged romance, he turned to me, in front of his locker, and said I love you. He probably meant it as much as any fifteen year old boy could. And I, in my ever sensitive and intuitive way, looked right at him and said Thank you.
To his credit, he rolled with it and gave me a hug. I, of course, went on to process every second of the interaction multiple times with multiple girlfriends. One of them couldn't believe that I didn't say I love you back. One of them gushed that I was so lucky. One of them rolled her eyes and told me to give her a break. Either way, he said I love you and I said thank you.
I hadn't really thought of that day or, really of him, in years. Sure, I heard from him through Facebook a few years back and occasionally I see him tagged in a picture with his family. Yet, in the past few weeks I can't help but think of him.
You see, I tell my sweet daughters, as often as I can, that I love them. Addison often plays a game with me called I love you. It goes a bit like this - I love you bigger than the sky. I love you deeper than the ocean. I love you to the moon and back. I love brighter than the sun. We go back and forth like this over and over until one of us says I love you just the way you are. Who ever says that first wins the I love you game. We are pretty well tied in our score.
Brenna, however, when I say to her I love you, looks up at me, with those chocolate brown eyes that look just like her father's, and says Thank you or I know or Yep.
I now think about how harsh my fifteen year old self was. I was honest, but harsh.
I am hoping Brenna is not being harshly honest, just two and a half.