I tell this story at the risk of really dating myself...but here goes anyway!
24 years ago I returned home from serving an LDS mission in the Philippines, I was suppose to return home on December 14, but ended up coming home the first of February and was able to travel home with my second companion (who I served 9 months with). My home was in Portland Oregon, my companion (pictured with me below) Carilyn is from Ogden Utah.
I had only been home a couple of days when Carilyn called to tell me her father was in the hospital, he had suffered a heart attack. She really wanted me to meet him, so we made arrangements for her to travel to Oregon to meet my family and I would return with her to Ogden to meet her family, especially her father.
Long story short, while I was in Ogden I got a tooth ache (I had lost a filling in the Philippines and opted to wait until I got home to fix it, given the fact that I never ran in to a dentist while I was there). Anyway, it was a Saturday afternoon and Carilyn called her Uncle who was a dentist and asked if there was anything he could do, being the incredible kind man that he was he agreed to meet us at his dental office (on Madison Avenue, this is where our first daughter got her name).
Carilyn's uncle brought with him to the office, his beautiful wife, Sharyl (and yes, we both share the same name now, spelled different, but still the same), and his son Darren, he brought his son to be his dental assistant (and no my husband did not become a dentist, he is an airline pilot, in fact I can't think of another time in which Darren ever helped out at the dental office...hmmm). For me it was love at first sight, for Darren, maybe not love at first sight, you know the whole suction, dental thing....But for the sake of keeping this story short, I will just say that it was only 9 short months later that we were married. Today actually marks our first official date 24 years ago. We went skiing, all day! Darren had recently returned from serving an LDS mission as well, he had served in Bolivia! We both LOVED the time we spent serving missions, and we loved sharing stories...
So 24 years later, 6 kids, a cat (who died), a dog and a huge mortgage we are still going strong. Life has not always been easy and we have faced our share of bumps in the road, but the older I get the more firmly I believe that I found my soul mate in every way.
Darren is a quite reserved kind of guy, he is the youngest of a family of four children, by four years. I am in the middle of 13 children, I don't really have to say more (although I will mention the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it is similar to our lives). I appreciate how supportive Darren has always been, we have had four of my sisters live with us, spanning about 5 years, we had a niece for another 18 months, a younger brother for a summer and myriads of house guests every year. When one of my sisters graduated from college (here in Utah) we had 20 house guests in our 2100 square foot home, it was crazy, but so much fun!!
Darren is also one of the most honest people I know! He is kind, gentle and trust worthy he is extremely hard working, and most of all he is a family man, he loves his children and when his crazy wife approached him about adopting a little boy from Haiti, even though we already had
five children, he was on board all the way!!
I am so grateful that I served a mission, met Carilyn, came to Utah, met my husband and have the wonderful life I have today! Darren is not a man of many words but his smile says so much about what he feels, and I am grateful after 24 years we are both still smiling!