I would have to say my first love was Robert. I won't say his last name to protect his innocence. I fell in love with Robert in first grade; I know that sounds stupid, but hear me out. Robert may have been in my kindergarten class, but I know for sure he was in my first grade class. First grade was probably my favorite year of elementary school and Robert was a big reason for that :) We use to get in trouble for talking to each other. Robert was kind of a bad kid and his name was always "on the board"; once in a while my name was on the board, but it was mostly for talking to him. We would flick bits of eraser at each other and I always tried to sit at the same table with him at lunch, where he would tell bathroom-humor jokes. Oh, childhood.
The reason I think Robert was my first love is because of what happened the summer before second grade. My elementary school use to do this thing where they would post the new classes for the new school year in the front windows. So the week before school started all the mothers would take their kids up to the school to see who their teacher was and who else was in their class. Well, as it turned out, Robert was NOT in my second grade class. I distinctly remember swinging on the swingset in my family's backyard and thinking to myself: what am I going to do without Robert in my class? How will I survive second grade? Apparently I've been dramatic since birth.
I don't remember much about Robert after that, but at one point when I was in either college or grad school my mom worked with a lady who was Robert's aunt and she emailed my mom a picture of Robert in his military uniform; of course my mom forwarded it to me and it was very strange to see him all grown up!
Sad to say, since my Robert days I don't know if I can really say I've been "in love". I've definitely dated, had boyfriends, and had crushes of course, but when I really think about it, I don't think I've been in love with a man before. That sounds really strange and vulnerable to me right now. I just don't like it when people rush to say they're in love with someone. I don't want to mistake lust or interest for love. I know what it is like to love another person (in an unromantic way) and I sure do love my dog (if you know me, you know that me loving you like I love my dog is probably the highest compliment you could get), so I know what love is and I think I'll know it when I truly fall in love with the right man.
Incidentally, I was watching Dexter last night (and of course only I would make a TV show into a nerdy lesson on self-actualization), but I thought this was really interesting: two of the characters were talking about the men in their lives who had hurt them. One of them said that she still sometimes missed the guy and the other one said, "You don't miss him, you miss the way he made you feel about yourself". I thought that was profound! It made me wonder how many women stay with men they KNOW are bad news just because they like the way him liking them makes them feel?
I know that for me, when a guy likes me and is paying attention to me, I feel wanted, loved, cared for, important, worthy of attention - and those are wonderful feelings, but I think we should know that we are those things even if a guy isn't paying attention to us. Without getting too deep, I will just say that if you're struggling with wanting to feel that way and trying to get it from a guy (or from anything really), it might sound trite, but it's true - Jesus is the answer - He loves, cares for you, thinks you're worthy of all His attention, and thought you were important enough to die for - much better than any guy you will ever date or marry.
Plus, when I do fall in love, I want it to be because I really love the man I'm falling in love with, not because I just love the way he makes me feel about myself.