When you fall in love as kids, you change.
It’s sometimes for the better – and sometimes for the worse.
Your moments start small. A passed note, a shy smile. A whisper among friends, a dance in a poorly lit middle school gymnasium. A blurry picture you one day won’t be able to find, but want to.
You’ll drift apart for a while. Explore what it means to love, miss, and hurt other people. You’ll watch each other from afar. You might drift so far onto another path that you’ll completely lose sight of each other. Maybe in another life, you’ll think, when you reflect back on it with a smile. We were too young anyway.
Then, when you least expect it, you’ll find your way back to each other. A commonplace hello in the middle of a video store on a Sunday afternoon. Soon, it will turn into late night texts that keep you up until the sky is black, evening drives with “where are you?” messages lingering on your phone from your parents. You’ll recognize what you’re feeling, but feel too young to go after it with vigor. You’ll talk about ‘forever,’ but it’s a million miles away – a blurry infinity that hasn’t yet taken shape. As your heart experiences things you never thought it could, the feelings will sink in – I want this, always – and they will become inescapable.
At this point, things will get harder. The safe bubble where your love was given a chance to spark and flourish will pop. Suddenly, you’ll need to make big decisions for yourself. It’s all about you, they’ll say. What YOU want, where YOU want to go, and what YOU want to do. It would be a lie to tell you that the vision of an “us” didn’t flicker in and out as you consider your options. At this pivotal point in your life, you’ll decide to do one of two things: continue together, and make some concessions – or separate, and pursue the great unknown, the wonders of the world that are promised to young, adventurous souls.
You’ll think it over, plenty of times, then decide that your love is most important. There’s no one else worth pursuing, and no desires that would be worth losing each other for. In fleeting moments, you’ll believe your dreams can be entirely attainable, if only together. We’ll move forward as a team, both of us getting what we want.
You’ll wade your way through challenging decisions, arguments you never envisioned yourself having, and feelings that bubbled up when you didn’t realize you were having them. You’ll each learn about choices, consequences, and feelings – resentment, forgiveness, empathy, and support. There will be great times among these, of course. You’ll laugh until you cry. Stay up too late drunk on each other. Lay in a daze in each other’s arms while the afternoon sun shines through old curtains. You’ll be unable to picture anything but the two of you, taking on the world whenever “forever” finally decides to catch up with you.
Then, if it’s possible that the blink of an eye and multiple eternities can exist together, you won’t be kids anymore. This is where love becomes immensely testing.
The kids who fell in love with starry eyes and visions of a future will have grown into passionate, opinionated adults. You’ll each want to make different decisions, and you’ll agree on some. There will be moments where you feel as if you’ve lost a part of yourself in exchange for an epic love, and they’ll have moments like that too. Your love won’t be as innocent as it once was. The troubles of the world, of life, will weigh heavy on the strings that hold your hearts together.
You also need to be prepared for this: as two lovers who once seemed invincible, you may grow to become two incredibly different people. You will like different things (although some of the same), create your own perceptions, and shape your own views of the world. Regardless of who you love, you still have to grow up, and no one can do that for you.
When you realize these differences, there will be moments where there is an ocean between you. It will be hard to span boundaries, find common ground, and see things from each other’s perspectives. There will be moments of shame, guilt, and impossible sadness. Moments where you say cutting-sharp words that you can’t take back, where your emotions spark so wildly out of character because you feel so deeply. You’ll have your moments – flash back to two kids passing notes in the parking lot – where you’re not sure if kids should get to grow up and still be in love with each other.
But listen to me now: you will get through these times. When you’ve put them behind you and pressed forward, you’ll continue to choose each other. You’ll learn as you go, but there will always be one thing you still agree one: your love is the number one priority, and even though you’ve changed, your love still beats on. Each time you grab their hand after a fight, each smile on a long car ride, when you lay your head on their chest at night – you’ll accept the change, and let the love grow.
You’ll change from people who could once consider life without each other to people who simply need each other, like a breath of oxygen. Your love will grow from a spark, to a wildfire, to a slow burning wood flame. Without it, you would grow cold and empty, searching for the warmth.
You will fight through the impossible decisions to hold each other up and make it through. You will morph into the person they need when they are hurting, happy, or excited, and they will do the same for you. Your love will grow to become resilient and mature, unlike the fragile, boundless love of young ones. You will be able to overcome the things you thought you never could, if only together.
You will keep the old note tucked away, and hold onto the pictures you have of the first days. When a song comes on, you’ll let memories fade in and out of that first dance. It will remind you of the beginning of everything, the start to an incredible journey between two people trying to figure the world out.
When you laugh, they’ll see the light in your eyes that reminds them of you ten years ago. When they sleep, you’ll see the same innocent teenager you once fell in love with.
There will be moments where the impossible decisions, the emotional conversations, the twisting reactions – they’ll all mean nothing compared to your love for each other. You’ll feel limitless, like anything bad can be undone. You’ll know your love will overcome it, because you’ve changed in ways that will let it conquer all.
Falling in love will change you, but mostly for the better.