This past weekend I celebrated the 39th anniversary of my marriage to my best friend. I didn't think it was possible, but over the years I have grown to love her even more than the day I proposed. As time has gone on I have gotten to know her for the person she is.
She is a loving caring mother who is there for our girls and seems to know what they need, not so much as what they want. Which is quite often not the same thing. She has a relationship with them that I envy. She loves and knows each and everyone of our grandchildren, their personalities, and their individual traits. When they call it is usually her they ask for, but they will talk to PaPa if she isn't there. Our sons-in-law when they first met her were fearful of her (scared spit less as one put it) until they realized that she was only looking out for our daughters' best interests and soon began to realize that she loved them just as much.
She is a good friend to those who truly know her. She would share all she has if asked and not expect it back. Many of our daughters' friends call her "Mom". Many of her friends are the young girls she has worked with. She always has an ear to bend and occasionally a shoulder to cry on. She treats them as if they are her own children and is honestly interested in them and what they are doing. She doesn't judge them and doesn't berate or belittle them. She is not afraid to give them advice nor to council and console.
As one of our young friends put it she should be awarded a medal for putting up with me as long as she has. I often make decisions without thinking them through. I often don't think about her wants or needs. To put it quite bluntly that I am a typical man.
She often lets me do things and get involved in things not on her list of favourite things. When we got married, I had a moustache and I don't think she had ever know me without one. After about 10 years, I found out she didn't like it and shaved it off. My beard is like barbed wire and I often get reminded of it when I don't shave for a day or two. This month, November, I decided to get involved with the Movember movement. Because I had a good reason and it was important to me, she agreed. I do know that I would be strongly advised and probably prompted to remove the result of a month's growth as soon as possible.
Shortly after we were married, I wanted to join the masonic organization because of its importance to my father. She knew that it would mean time away from home and our family. But because of what it did mean to me there was no complaint nor has there been over the last 35 plus years.
I made a very unwise questionable decision not many years later and bought a motor bike to replace the one I had owned up until just after me got married. I thought her comment that she missed riding was a suggestion. I learned in no uncertain terms that it sure wasn't. Funny thing is we still own that bike.
I have dragged her and our children over most of the province as I went from job to job. When I had an opportunity to move back to Lethbridge, it did not take much discussion to reach the decision to move home. Family has always been important to her and it was a decision that was easily made. We have been here now for 25 years. As our children have grown and left and our parents have eventually passed on has the desire to stay become less of a need. A couple of years ago she flabbergasted me but saying out of the blue: "With the kids all gone and Chrissy and Dian living in the States, why don't we fix the house up and sell once we are ready, buy a good sized 5th wheel rig and become gypsies? We could spend the winters down there and the summers up here." We are actively working towards that goal.
Our faith has always been a big part of our life. Although neither of us were active when we got married we still got married by an LDS bishop in the LDS church. We never really kept in touch with the church but never turned away the missionaries, home teachers, or visiting teachers when they found us. Just after we moved to the Red Deer area and Kimmie was born, we were discussing the fact that raising our children with a religious/moral foundation was very important to us. The topic of where and when came up. Did we go back to our church or attend one of the little community churches in Penhold where we lived. If we did go back to the LDS church where did we go and who did we contact. No decision was made and Sharon suggested we leave it and think about it for a while. "The Lord will let us know." With in minutes of that the phone rang. It was the Elder's Quorum president from the Red Deer branch asking if this was the Hovan household and if we were members because a set records had shown up earlier that week. I said that was us and he asked if he could come by and bring our home teacher with him to introduce us. That was the start to friendships that exist to this day and was the first step on our road to activity and eventually being seal in the temple for all time and eternity. I will admit that I am not the spiritually strong one in the family. Sharon has always been the leader.
Married life has not always been easy. There were times of great sadness (the loss of our son, the passing of our parents, the loss of my brother). There were times of great joy (each addition to our family starting with the arrival of our girls, the addition of our sons-in-laws and grandchildren). There was the time we almost lost Sharon to a medical emergency. If it had not been for the faith of our eldest two I don't think I could have made it through that crisis.
She has taught me so much with her caring ways and her wisdom. She has given me so much with her unconditional love. I have someone that I can talk to. Someone I can laugh with. Someone who I cry with. Someone I can do things with. Someone I can read with or read to. Someone I just sit with and enjoy her company knowing she is sitting on the other side of the room.
She has spent the better part of her life helping me become the man, the husband, and the father that I am. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams and desires that she had chosen me to be her eternal companion by marrying me for all time and eternity.
In retrospect, I don't think I knew what love was when I proposed all those many years ago. Thank you for showing me the true meaning of the word.