I remember it like it was yesterday, when in fact it was 21 years ago yesterday that our youth group pulled out of the CWC parking lot, headed for "Chicago '92."
It was the week between Christmas and New Years. I was twelve years old. I weighed about 85 pounds, my bangs were sprayed into a stiff tube, and my face was oily in the T-zone. I wore a big wooden cross around my neck, listened to DC Talk, and told my classmates at East Middle School that they were going to hell if they didn't repent and believe.
I had a lot to learn.
So anyway, that Christmas I had a boyfriend who I'd been "going with" for 11 whole months. We were setting middle school records with the longevity of our relationship. His name was Geoffrey, and I truly thought I was in love. I think he did too, because he saved his greenhouse money that year to buy me a gold-plated cross pendant with a diamond chip in the center. My mom was a little surprised, but not me. I just knew Geoffrey was the one.
The conference in Chicago went great, and then it was time to head home. As things go, I was assigned a different van than the one Geoffrey was in. And as things go, Geoffrey was assigned a van with Abby The New Girl. You see where this is going, don't you?
On the way home, my heart grew fonder in Geoffrey's absence. In fact, it grew so fond that I found myself plotting to kiss him as soon as we got back to the church! That's right, kiss him. I didn't know where I would kiss him - whether on the cheek or the nose or the forehead - but I was going to kiss him for sure. I could hardly wait to pull into the parking lot and plant my lips on my cute baby-faced boyfriend.
But when we finally arrived back at CWC, and when I ran up to Geoffrey to give him a kiss, he stopped me short and said, "I want to break up. I like Abby."
I was stunned. My heart fell. I dropped my hot pink duffel bag to the pavement and watched him walk away from me for good.
It was New Year's Eve that night. When my parents picked me up at the church, just moments after my first breakup, they drove me and my brothers to a party with some family friends. I stayed up until midnight with everybody else, but while they threw confetti and popped corks, I lay alone on a bench in the hallway, weeping along to Auld Lang Syne.
But this is why I tell this story. I remember my mom saying to me that night, "Honey, you're young. 20 years from now you'll be married with kids and ringing-in happy new years again." I thought she was crazy at the time, but now here I am, 20 years later, married with kids, and ringing in the happiest years of my life. Thank G0D for his providence. Thank G0D for the wisdom of our mothers. And thank G0D that we don't stay 12 years old forever.