I let my sweetheart's birthday pass without even saying a word. In my defense, he was off that day and we spent it together. Instead of blogging about him, I was having fun with him. Still, I've managed to at least acknowledge each family member's birthday so far this year. And I let the most important person's slip by. I owe him an apology--though being the person he is, he'll disagree. Too bad--to paraphrase Leslie Gore: it's my blog and I'll apologize if I want to. But this isn't about me--it's about him.
Picture this: Tennessee, 1972. My best friend Renea is having her 14th birthday party. I'm there with my boyfriend. But also there visiting Renea's older brother is this really cute older guy whom I know to be a popular football player at the local high school. My little boyfriend gets left behind as I follow the football hunk around all evening. He keeps glancing over his shoulder with this perplexed look on his face--probably wondering who this strange stalker is! Of course, nothing came of this encounter. He was a senior in high school after all with no time for a lowly little 8th grader.
Fast forward to 1975. I'm now a senior in high school, president of one of the clubs. Me and several other club members are at our teacher's home decorating for homecoming. I didn't know at the time that Darrell was a good friend of my teacher's husband and was upstairs visiting. Hearing all the commotion downstairs, he asked what was going on. Mike (the husband) told him about our activities and told Darrell to "go down there and pick you out one". So the two of them head downstairs to see what we're up to. Renea was still my best friend and having known Darrell for years, had no qualms about flirting with him. I didn't know him, but I was always up for flirting with a cute guy, so I did. After a bit, Darrell and Mike went back upstairs where Mike asked him which one he'd picked. Darrell told him he'd picked me--but I was too young. Yeah. That didn't stop him from calling Renea the next day and asking for my phone number. Our first date was Christmas Eve 1975. We were engaged about three weeks later. (Have I ever mentioned how impulsive I can be?)
We were married April 10, 1976 (my spring break). Darrell was in the army and had received orders for Italy. We needed to be married, so I could get my paperwork together to go with him.
We've had good times, bad times, financially difficult times, absolutely wonderful times. We've raised four children together and are now enjoying the benefits of being grandparents. I thank my Heavenly Father every single day for bringing Darrell and me together.
Darrell is an amazing man--someone I'd like to be like when I grow up. He's kind, big-hearted, generous, and thoughtful. He can fix just about anything. He works hard at a job he's not very crazy about so that I can stay home. He pampers me and spoils me and makes all other men pale in comparison.
I love this man more than I thought I was capable of. He is everything and more I could ever want in a husband. I look back on our years together and am so very grateful. I look ahead to the future and am excited at the prospect of growing old with him. I look into his eyes and see eternity.
Happy birthday, sweetheart. Every day and forever.