Of all the names I have for my husband, "Hero" is the one that defines him the best.
I met Darren when I was 13 and he was 14 at Riverside Rollerskating Arena, the place where my friends and I hung out every weekend. I'm pretty sure the year I turned 13 was the year I got my own roller skates for a birthday gift. No more stinky rentals! Of all the things we loved about Riverside, the smells, the snack bar, the carpeted walls and the extra large girl's bathroom with lots of mirrors, skating couples with cute boys was high on the list.
The boy with the blue striped velor shirt was very cute. (He had his own "speed" skates.) I, of course, had on my favorite skating outfit - beige Levi's cords and red plaid button up shirt with my white skates. My friend Lynn had asked a boy to skate who just happened to be the friend of this particular boy, who , by the way, did remember me. The next weekend we were set up. Isn't it great how the Lord makes sure His plan comes together? Fortunately, we had a few years to be friends before we dated for real, which makes our relationship the finest of all.
In the midst of planning a September 1986 wedding, we decided that we would rather bump up the date and get started with our lives. We eloped on Valentine's Day to the very exotic location of Livonia's 16th district court, during the lunch hour of the city workers. And we have never looked back! (We have some pretty terrific family and friends who have loved and supported us and forgive us when we make decisions like that one.)
The reason why my husband is the hero:
Before we were married, Hero would come to visit me while he was working (he drove a truck), sometimes pretty early in the morning. He would kiss me, even though no one had ever clued me in on morning breath before. I try to at least rinse now, but even still, he will kiss me no matter what aroma may be waiting for him.
No matter how warm and snugly he is in bed, if I need a tissue or a Tylenol, he will always offer and be ready to retrieve what I need. He does it without even thinking. Once while I was pregnant with Colin, I had a stomach flu thing. During the middle of the night, when I could not make it to the bathroom, Hero was right there to clean everything up. (OK, unless you think he is too good, he did complain about that one a bit.)
Together Hero and I were introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What the missionaries taught us clicked and in a matter of a few weeks our testimonies were at a point where we joined the church. The night before our baptism, I asked him, "What if it's not true?", to which he replied, "Then we'll stop going". We have embraced everything about the gospel since, including being sealed in the temple, to be together forever with our family. It is so great that we are on the same page, and even the same paragraph in the gospel.
Some traits a person is just born with. No matter what environment a person grows up in, certain attributes rise to the surface. Hero is a hard worker. As a child, his parents did most everything for him, and yet he is far from lazy. He has worked up to three jobs to provide for us. Now he is down to one. But, he works midnights at Garden City Hospital in the ER, and is in Nursing School to graduate in May 2010. He is one of the hardest working people I know, although he does have some slacker moments.
I love fireplaces. Our first four homes did not have one (we finally have one in our current home).For our anniversary one year, Hero made a mantle out of scrap wood, with a cardboard backing, complete with candlelight flames, rose pedals, and pictures on top. Dinner was set up in the living room to eat in front of the fire. It was the most romantic gift ever. For a follow up, he made a real fireplace mantle with logs and candles, that is now in our bedroom. I love it. Each time we use it, I am reminded of the love that went into those gifts.
Hero is a hero to a few others, too. He makes the best waffles. He goes on early Saturday morning dates to get donuts or fresh bread. He goes to concerts and plays. He laughs, makes (sometimes) corny jokes, plays, tickles and loves. He picks out special Christmas presents from just Dad. As parents, we are always trying to improve (good thing for repentance), but this dad is exceptional.
Of all the things that make him my hero - the selflessness, the compassion, the service, the faith, the dedication and the thoughtfulness - he is smart, too. He picked me! My hero tells me that I am his favorite. Oh, man, I must be charmed. He is mine through thick and thin. Fortunately there is mostly thick - or is thin the best part?
We are celebrating 23 years this year on Saturday (Hero had to work on Valentine's Day). We are going to spend the day together, doing a little shopping, making and having dinner together, snuggling on the couch. We will squeeze in a few parenting things (basketball game, chores, etc.), but Hero and I will make the most of the moments. Afterall, that is what heros do - they are there. He is there, happily.
Happy Anniversary Hero. I love you a lot a lot.
Love, your favorite