My mother's parents, both in their sixties, were planning to retire. Instead, they took on the task of raising two little girls when my sister and I were orphaned. They hadn't planned to become parents again, but they rose to the occasion and did the best they could.
While living with my grandparents, my grandfather was always willing to share his opinion of the Church. He hated the Church. He forbid me to pay tithing and refused to drive me to seminary. He never missed an opportunity to degrade leaders and was very vocal about it.
When I met my husband, it didn't take long for me to realize that his family was very dedicated to living the gospel. His father served as a Stake President and a Regional Representative. His mother served in stake and ward callings. He'd grown up in a very Christ-centered home. I had not.
I was nervous for Del to meet my grandfather. True to form, the first thing my grandfather said to Del was, "Do you know why you're marrying my granddaughter?"
"Because I love her and want to make a life with her," Del replied with a sincere smile.
My grandfather then said, "No. Hormones. That's why you're marrying her."
I expected Del to bolt as fast as he could. But, he didn't. In fact, he never once judged my grandfather or any of the outrageous things Grandpa said and did. My grandfather loved Del. I often say that Grandpa loved Del more than he loved me. Grandpa was pretty rough around the edges, but Del loved him anyway. When we would visit my grandparents, Del would spend time fixing things around their house and talking to Grandpa.
After Grandpa had a stroke, Grandma couldn't care for him so we moved them both out to Colorado so my sister and I could care for them. Grandpa only lived a few months in Colorado, but Grandma lived here for about 2 years.
One day, I took Grandma to Walmart to shop. She didn't want to shop with me and my 7 kids (I don't even like to shop with me and that many kids) so we parted and shopped separately. She was supposed to meet me at a designated place and when she didn't show up, I panicked. I finally went to Customer Service and discovered an ambulance had taken an older woman to the hospital. I rushed to the hospital and discovered that Grandma had suffered a major stroke. After several days in the hospital, we brought her home to live out her remaining days in her own place with her cat and her family around her. I was pregnant at the time, as was my sister, and we were both emotionally distraught. My brother-in-law had just had neck surgery. Grandma needed 24 hour care. While my sister and I traded off during the day, Del stayed with Grandma each night. He gave her water in an eye dropper because she couldn't swallow and seemed so thirsty. He completely cared for her each night and then went to work every morning. He never complained. Not once. I know Grandma appreciated him, but not as much as I did. He cared for my grandmother like she was his own grandma.
He has so much compassion and such a capacity to love. He doesn't judge people and is always willing to help anyone who needs help. He willingly gives service even when it is least convenient.
He is such an incredible father. He has always changed diapers. With our first child, I didn't even change a diaper for the first two weeks. He regularly stays up late helping kids with homework, washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen so that when I get up in the morning I don't have to wake up to a dirty kitchen. He'll spend hours talking to one of our teenagers. He's always there for our kids. He loves them and they know it.
Most of all, he loves me and I know it. This morning I came down to the kitchen in my usual early morning haze and found a dozen red roses, a heartshaped box of chocolates, and the sweetest card. That's my honey. He is so thoughtful. For these reasons, and so many more, he is my very special Valentine and I feel so very blessed that he is my eternal companion.
Here's hoping all of you get to spend Valentine's with your honeys!