Unless we're talking about kids, I don't usually discuss love at all. This GBE2 group that I write with has decided to make "First love" the phrase of the week and in doing so, has shown me how much I don't think about or talk about love. To my psychology loving mind, that's an indication of several different issues, none of which I will go to in detail about at the moment because I don't want to deflect. I'm going to talk about this topic dammit!

When I thought of the phrase, there were 3 first loves that came to mind. Two of them have a strong and lasting presence in my heart and for once, I had no intention of talking about my son. If y'all don't know about my love for him by now, you never will.

Instead, I thought of my version of a high school sweetheart, my Papa Nyc (code for my grandfather whose last name was Nyc) and a little plastic monkey I had when I was a kid.

We'll get the weirdness over with and talk about the monkey first. Most of us had blankets or teddy bears that we loved. My love was a little monkey. I can still see him with his little fur coming unglued from his head. I loved that monkey because he stayed with me in what to me was a scary dark room devoid of any kind of affection. That little guy let me hug him until he literally fell apart with age. He never wanted me to go away and he was always with me when I was scared, with my little hands clinging to him as if he could actually protect me from all the evils that I thought (and some I knew) existed in the dark.

Next up, Papa. Here was a man who inspired very little gentle feelings in his own children, but who in me, inspired a feeling of complete, quiet and gentle acceptance. He held me when my mother died and we cried quietly together. He stood up for me in the face of my greatest fear when no one else ever had, though they knew far more about the reasons for my fear than he did. He medicated me when I was sick, worried over me when I was late and chided me when I wasn't out enjoying life. He was in my mind, the best grandfather that ever lived and certainly the family member that loved me better than anyone else ever had. Almost 20 years after his death, I still miss him every day and even now cry in grief over his lack of physical presence in my life now.

Chris, oh Chris. Chris is the first person to ever love me so unconditionally and not be related to me. Of course, by then we had both learned that blood didn't necessarily mean family or love. But, Chris set the bar for ever man after him. That sounds awful and it doesn't mean I compare behaviors of other men to the behaviors of Chris, but I do compare loyalty levels. That's because after over 20 years, Chris is still my best friend and still loyal to his feelings for me, as I am him. The dynamics of our relationship have changed considerably and we don't necessarily equate love with romance, but we both still cherish that we ever met, ever fell in love and are the friends that we are today.

You might think from the description that Chris is a "yes" guy whose loyalty would never allow him to call me out on my shit. You would be wrong. He is in fact the only guy to ever pour a bucket of cold water on me because I had gotten on his last nerve. Of course, he had the good sense to go hide as soon as the water cascaded over my head lol, but the very fact that he brought my behavior to my attention at all was a sign that he loved me enough to want me to get my shit together. Only puppy love is blind you see. A real love is eye opening and accepting all at once, which is why it's so rare. And, happy endings are subjective.

Chris is married with a family of his own now. Because he loves them and because his wife shows an unwavering tolerance and devotion to Chris, I consider them under my wing. They have made him happy and that's good enough for me. As for me, after spending the majority of my life alone, first by force and then by choice, I'm content in the knowledge that while I will probably spend the majority of the rest of my life alone, I was blessed to ever have the love of the ones that have loved me.


  1. Your words about your Papa made me cry. Just beautiful. ♥

  1. Everyone should have that kind of love behind them. The monkey, the Papa and the boy are all great treasures. Beautifully done. *sniff*

  1. Oh this was so sweet. I love it. Your Papa was pretty special...I could feel it as I read the words. Beautifully done! Cheers, Jenn

  1. I loved this..I completely understand, when asked, I say I am termanally single...Why??..I'll die this way..:).."I am a lucky man to count on both hands the ones I love"

  1. w0w;;that precious lil monkey...omy gosh..who gave him to you? you SO crack me up "ok get the weirdness over with" : ) and your friend..i thought you were going to say he was gay!! : ) and papa...omy..i thought i was out of tears today ((hugs)) thank you SO much for not deleting

  1. This is a wonderful post.

  1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. It's a blessing to any writer to ever inspire emotional response, as you all well know. Thanks Elizabeth for making me stop and remember this :)

  1. I enjoyed reading your story of love's ups and downs. Thank you.

  1. Great post. Your monkey wasn't yellow and black with a banana in his hand, was he?


  1. Love comes in so may different ways!

  1. Very bittersweet! I smiled about the monkey though. I still remember my favorite toy as a day she just disappeared and we think she was given to the good will. :(

  1. 'A real love is eye opening and accepting all at once, which is why it's so rare.' - True words. Romantic love lets you get away with shit. Real love, the kind that lasts forever will dump that bucket of water over you and then come back to support you when you're done yelling. Great piece *hugs*

  1. This is beautiful and lovely!

  1. I so understand the love for your grandfather, you brought tears to my eyes, I remembered mine! Thank you for sharing!

  1. I'm so glad you all enjoyed the post. It took me back a ways :) And no Joyce, he was black and fuzzy :P

  1. This was so beautiful. I love that it was not just one love. Oh and the monkey. How cute. My twin sister had a stuffed monkey too she loved so this really got me. Your dad sounds like such a special man. Great job.


  1. This is beautiful Kathy, and so heartfelt. I'm glad you've had monkey love, Papa love and Chris love. Sounds like each of these loves helped you through.

  1. I was very young when I lost my grandfather but I still have a few memories. He was my father's father and from what my dad tells me I was the apple of his eye.

  1. I love how these topics allow people to open up about their past. I think it's good therapy.

  1. you're right. Love isn't just about blood, and it's not just about romance either. You're not alone, you're surrounded by people that love you.

  1. Grandparent love and love of grandparent is a wonderful. I was like that with my gramp. I hope my grand kids will find it with me.

    A Pirate Looks Past Sixty

  1. I enjoyed reading your reflections and it sounds like you've been blessed. :-)

  1. My daughter is also extremely attached to a monkey. She has had it since she was just a tiny little girl. His name is Monkey. Your post was so wonderful and heartfelt and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!


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