“How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart.” – William Butler Yeats
I was in 8th grade, his name was Billy Vaughn. My first official “boyfriend” and true love that lasted all of about 3 months. Something that I will always remember and a memory that I will cherish! As I recall it was after classes behind the school near the track. I was pretty nervous and wasn’t sure it was going to happen. I was leaning against the wall and Billy simply leaned in and planted it on me. In a snap it was over. The most distinct memory was that he had a cold and a runny nose and well for lack of a better description basically slimed me in the process. (Sorry Billy) Slime and all it was great. A first kiss and I was floating on air as I walked home from school that day. Right of passage, Check!
Being my first boyfriend and my first kiss, Billy has always help a special place in my heart. When he was in an accident that nearly took his legs or worse, I was devastated. I had just seen him at our 20th high school reunion months earlier. I prayed everyday for him and his family that he would pull through. God is good and he is recovering. The whole incident reminded me that life is short and in a moment can be turned upside down for you and your loved ones. A few short months later, Tucker was diagnosed with cancer and for the first time I really understood what that meant.
On a drive to visit Tucker’s grandparents, he asked me about first loves and first kisses. How old I was when I had my first crush. “5th grade, I think.” I said knowing that is when I decided boys didn’t actually have cooties. “Yeah me too.” he responded revealing that is was Hailey. That she was his best friend. “Did you kiss her?” I probed. “No.” he assured, kissing a girl was a ways out it seems.
A first crush, first kiss & first love, these are all important rights of passage on the road to growing up that some children just never have the chance to experience. I prayed quickly in that moment that Tucker would get to experience those things with a thankful heart that at least girls didn’t have cooties anymore.
School is about to start up again and Tucker will miss out on being a sixth grader. His treatment plan pretty much doesn’t leave enough days to participate in classes. He will be home schooled by a school district assigned tutor. He is disappointed by this and afraid his friends will forget about him. While they will be going to their first classes as a middle schooler he will be headed to the hospital for his 7th round of consolidation chemotherapy. I have completely lost count of how many actual doses he has had in the last 5 months but would guess they number at around 58. Not to mention the daily oral chemotherapy he has to take through out his treatment.
Tucker’s treatment is hard on all of us, we all have had to make many sacrifices but it is most hard on him and his sacrifices are many. There are time when he crys and says “I hate my life!” or “My life sucks!” and I simply remind him that this is not his life and that cancer sucks! We are fighting for his life and we will find our way back to it someday. This is just a season, it will not last forever. And when this winter in Tucker’s life becomes spring and new life blooms with a sweet smell all of the sacrifice will be worth it. When Tucker has his first kiss, we shall never forget just how hard it was fought for and it will be a memory worth cherishing.