I've been thinking about the different men and boys in my life lately. I think relationships (of any kind) between females and males are really interesting. So here are some of the "groups", I guess, that I've been thinking about.
One: awkward past experiences. Well, not necessarily awkward. But ended badly. As in, all communication ceased for several months. And heart was more than broken. It was either shattered or ripped out. Can I just say that it's sort of scary when you actually feel the sensation of something shattering or just missing in your chest? And, then, years later, it's like they forgot they ruined you so completely and they're acting friendly again. But here you are, having moved on a long time ago, but still unable to stop from shuddering when they accidentally brush against you.
Two: those kids that you absolutely love but don't really know that well. You want to get to know them better and they might turn into really good friends. But until then, anytime this person comes up in conversation you're like "Oh, I love that kid! I need to hang out with him one of these days..." It's always interesting to see where one of these will go. Sometimes you'll get to know them better and they're not quite as wonderful as you thought originally. Sometimes you'll become best friends. Sometimes it becomes more.
Three: really good guy friends that, I mean, come on, you can't help but think "Hm... potential except for that one thing...". Those "one things" defer between each guy and every girl has different deal breakers. Over the years, the deal breakers change and the same person you thought "Never" about becomes something more. You realize what things really do matter and what things don't really. For example, I've discovered height doesn't really matter too much to me. But I've also discovered how important missions are to me. I will marry a RM. I've also discovered how important family and in-laws are to me. Not necessarily if they like me or not, but how good his family situation is. I need to marry someone who is part of a loving family. Every family has their problems, yes, but I won't marry in to an abusive or other such messed up family. Also, interestingly enough, I've discovered how political views actually do matter. Not to say that I won't marry someone who doesn't share every single political view I have, but when a guy idolizes certain political persons... We're still wonderful friends, but I wouldn't be able to marry him. :P
Four: Of course, that one guy. This has so many different varieties in it, but it's that one guy, the one who's name just makes you smile, your heart to lurch a little bit, the one who's in your dreams (both night dreams and daydreams). Maybe it's from afar, that one beautiful boy who probably doesn't even know your name. Maybe it's a good friend and you're afraid to do anything about it because you don't want to ruin the friendship so you just sit beside him, watching and hoping. Maybe he's yours and you get to hold his hand that fits so perfectly in yours. Maybe it's a weird, complicated sort of situation, a sort of undefined mush that, at times, really grates on you, but you still can't help but love him. Either way, he's the most handsome and beautiful person in your life.
Five: the grown men in your life. Bishops, teachers, parents of friends, friends of parents. I have several friends back home who are friends of parents that I just adore. Every time I go home and see them, we give each other punches on the arm and just tease the snot of each other. My top four favorite teachers/professors are all male. My fourth grade teacher, my high school history teacher, one of the English professors here and my theatre professor. I have a profound respect for all of them. Bishops, of course, are amazing. Especially when you're in college, away from home. They adopt you as a daughter, you adopt them as a father. There is no doubt that they love you deeply.
Six: family. Brothers. Father. Grandfathers. Cousins. Uncles. There's something incredibly amazing about the men in your family. I don't have an older brother, but there are also guys who you've adopted as family and some of those become older brothers. They're there when a guy breaks your heart, waiting with a wooden bat to make the weasel suffer. You look at your younger brother proudly and declare to everyone that he's going to be a heartbreaker. You always hear about the fun, crazy uncles. Why? Because it's true. And, of course, your father. Maybe you don't have a great relationship with your father. But you still love him. You still see a lot of him in every boy you fall for. I remember a couple years ago, my dad was able to come visit me at school for a day and, after he left, I realized that I wanted to marry someone like him so that my children would love their father as much as I love mine.
Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there's another wonderfully special thing about the vast majority of the men in my life: the Priesthood. It's such a comfort, such a strengthening thought to realize that I am surrounded by men who hold the power of God. Men who are worthy in the sight of the Lord and who could literally move mountains. I love that, if I need it, I can call a number of men in my contacts list on my phone and ask them for a blessing. What more could a girl ask for?