Always Remember Your First Love

The following is written in a real mom’s own words. This is an outlet for parents who would like to share their stories, in the hope that others will connect and find support. If you have a story you’d like to share, please message us on Facebook or email us at

Is there anything like a first love, really? Arguably not. But I’m not talking about little Johnny Clarke, who gave you your first kiss on the cheek in 5th grade. Not the one you doodled about in your middle school notebook. I’m talking about your significant other. In my case, it’s my husband, Eric. But this message translates to anyone you’re lucky enough to call your main squeeze.

The summer Eric and I were falling in love, we stayed out way too late. We went out way too often. We laughed loudly, conversed easily. Couldn’t get enough of each other. It was every bit as fairy tale as one could hope for; I pine for those days often. Seven years after the fact, I get tingly just writing about it…never mind living it. I was a lovestruck mess.

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Could you blame me? Eric is handsome in the all-American sense. Dirty blonde, with dimples, and this shy smile that could stop you in your tracks. A crooked Red Sox cap, and faded t-shirt. Bronze skin that tells you he works outside. He is a family man- loves his mama, knows how to treat a lady. Country music on the radio. Sincere, with an understated sort of humor, and a real wild streak that he learned how to tame juuust the right amount. The hardest working person you ever want to meet.

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I studied him. I learned his favorite recipes, what made him crack up, and all about the Boston Bruins’ first line. I knew what calmed him down after a stressful day, and his preferred methods of communication. I learned how to earn his trust, that I could hold his hand in public without him minding, and how to make him realize what a gift he really was.

In a few short years, we were engaged, married, homeowners, and expectant parents – the last three in that sequence happened within a five-month window. It was a whirlwind of the most romantic kind, and we were swept up.

Four months pregnant with our first-born, I remember going to dinner on Valentine’s Day. It was my favorite restaurant, and the one that catered our wedding – an extra-special tie-in. (You couldn’t put it past Eric to be mindful of details like that. The man is smooth.) I wore a coral maxi dress. Eric wore a plaid shirt and jeans, wondering if they would be dressy enough. They were. We sat there, sampling our penne pink vodka and petit filet, cooked medium, and I remember thinking…we have to make sure we always do this. Spend one-on-one time. Unplug, and unwind together. I might have even said it out loud, as we often would. We laughed when the festive dessert arrived to our table, dripping in champagne. We wondered if I should even taste it, because of the baby.

Because of the baby.

Fast forward five+ more months, to when we welcomed our son, Henry. He was a big, big baby (10 lbs., 2 oz.!), so they took him by C-section to avoid injuries during delivery. During the surgery, once the feeling washed out of the lower half of my body, I completely panicked. It was a feeling I can’t describe, but I’ve never felt so alone. Eric was standing there, calming me down, and simultaneously bouncing with excitement over catching the first glance at our boy. He made his grand entrance, and was whisked away with Eric to wait for me in the recovery room. When I got there, it was clear they had already forged a bond. It was amazing. Eric was a natural. The proudest I’ve ever seen him.

Meanwhile, I was still terrorized by the loss of control in my body, and at the nurses talking about blood clots and heart rates and breastfeeding and low temperatures. It took me away from sharing this wonderful moment with my better half, and into worrying about myself and my son. Why were they putting him under the lights? Why was he coughing so much? When would I be able to feel my legs again? These kind of burning questions robbed me of the joy I should have been feeling with Eric, and were the start of a distance I never meant to put between us.

In new momhood, I managed to keep up with the housework, make dinner, stock everything we needed to keep things running. I made doctors appointments, and the occasional trip to the hair stylist to make me feel better. I helped solve Henry’s reflux problem and make him more comfortable, and figured out how to rinse the shampoo from his hair without making him cry. I was discovering Henry just as I had his father, not so long ago.

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In the meantime, I managed to forget to ask my first love how his day went. I managed to forget to wash his postal uniforms, as I was washing onesies for the umpteenth time that week. I managed to pass out before I had a chance to put my head on his chest, and listen to the steady “thump thump” of his heart beat that used to remind me to stop and breathe.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t as cold as ice. And he was caught up, too. I wasn’t even aware this was going on. I was just so preoccupied in trying to keep us all afloat, that the best my husband could get from me some days was a packed lunch and a highly distracted kiss.

But I managed to forget that Eric’s mood is often very dependent on my own, for better or worse. So if I was a bit absent or maxed out, I could often expect the same from him. You get what you give, after all. We get into these zones of full speed ahead, and forget to stop and smell the roses. Both of us. All of us. But there are so many roses to smell!

Moms, I’m here to tell you, stop. And smell the roses. Give your loved one an unexpected squeeze, or a note in their packed lunch, like you used to before your newest love popped into the picture. (I still have one hanging on our bathroom mirror that Eric wrote me that first summer – it says “Good morning beautiful!!!” and I know it by heart.)

Amidst the feedings, and sleeping or not sleeping, and anxiety, and appointments, remember that this all started with your other half – they are your every reason. You should treat them accordingly, and expect the same in return.

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I think this is an important place to note that, in many ways, our son has brought us closer together. Kids will do that to you. They’re half you, and half your spouse – or if they’re not, they’re still reliant on the two of you like no one else. We have had many a quiet moment where we bonded, reflected, and just were.

But there’s something about the hustle bustle that will drive a wedge between you and your first love, the truest love you might ever know. Don’t let it.

I love my husband madly. I want Henry to be just like him, and I want a girl to discover all the things that make him wonderful, and honor those things often. I can do better. Maybe we all can.

Wife of 1, Mom of 1, with 1 more on the way

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