Love Lessons

Watching my young-adult children find their soul mates is sweet sorrow...I pray Cupid is kinder to them than he has been to me.
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A Young Casanova

By the time Hayes was in first grade I was pretty sure I had a little Casanova on my hands. How many boys ask to celebrate turning 7 with a dinner party with three little girls? I served them spaghetti on my good china, poured grape juice into wineglasses, lit the candles, and lurked around to watch. Clustered around Hayes, Katie, Caroline, and Camille chattered and picked at their pasta. With an indulgent expression far beyond his years, Hayes laughed at their jokes and called for more meatballs.

Before long my little playboy had honed his lady-killing techniques. He began sixth grade by getting a girlfriend and changing his instant-messenger name to "gottaloveMissy," but by Christmas it was back to "Haze227" -- apparently to accommodate the fact that you also gotta love Brianna, Ashley, and Michelle.

At the tail end of his freshman year at Susquehannock High School, however, Hayes asked for a ride to the home of one Dana Zalowski. He and Dana were going to do their homework together, he said.

That was 2003, and he and Dana are still doing their homework together -- they are both sophomores in college in the Washington, D.C., area, he at Georgetown and she at Marymount. They survived all the ups and downs of high school, they survived graduation, and now they're surviving the romantic opportunities and temptations of college. By this time Dana -- a blond beauty who goes to school on an athletic scholarship and whom we like to call Soccer Barbie -- is part of my family, appearing in our traditional Fourth of July photo.

People often assume that I worry about Hayes's having gotten so serious about one girl so early in life; when he and Dana engineered attending colleges so close together, I was expected to oppose this idea in particular. When you're young you're supposed to play the field and sow your wild oats. Wasn't it bad for them to get locked in so soon? Wouldn't it give them a narrow perspective and make it likely for those oats to burst out later on?

Well, for one thing, it isn't as though they are married. (I know what you're thinking...yet.) But they are still young, both just turning 20, and anything could happen. Anything can happen at anytime, in fact -- to any couple. I don't think you can predict the success of a relationship by how old you are when it starts or how many people you've been with before. Some of those involvements might not be positive at all -- in fact, they could be traumatic, creating the baggage that makes it hard for future relationships to succeed. Why do you think second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first?

Continued on page 2:  First Loves and Losses


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