My husband, Scott DeGooyer, is my hero. I=ve called him a lot of things in our marriage, including Husband, Lover, Sexy is Suspenders, DeGooyer Son and Ed. But despite the silly nicknames, and sweet sentiments, he is, in my opinion, one of the greatest men alive. What makes him great? I think I can sum it up in one phrase: He is always trying to make himself better. He is never content to coast through life, but he is always striving to be the best person he can be.
Scott was the fourth child born to Ray and Beverly DeGooyer. He grew up in a happy home where his parents taught him the importance of hard work. Scott learned early in his life the value of hard work. His father purchased an old hotel before Scott was a teenager. Scott worked side by side with his father renovating the ancient building into modern office spaces. He often refers to that time of hard work as some of his happiest memories working alongside his father. Scott came to the conclusion that hard work is a prerequisite to success and happiness. His view of work hasn=t changed since those exhausting but happy days working at the Tomahawk with his dad.
In 1995, Scott married me! As a husband, Scott is simply impressive. He is optimistic, faithful, a great communicator, respectful, affectionate, sensitive, romantic, appreciative, forgiving, financially responsible, passionate about life, confident, competent and loves me just the way I am. (Wow! That=s a great list, in and of itself!)
Scott has a positive outlook on life, even when things aren=t bright and sunny. He always makes me laugh and has a great sense of humor. Scott will laugh at himself if no one else is laughing, which makes us all laugh even harder. Watching the movie, Claymation Christmas, is so much fun if Scott is around. He laughs and laughs at the humorous ice-skating hippos and their antics with the penguins. I=d rather watch him laughing than the movie anytime!
Scott is one of the most reliable and trustworthy men I know. When I have struggled with my eating disorder, Scott never gave up on me. He supported me when I needed to see a psychologist, or when I had gastric-by-pass surgery. He has remained loyal and committed to our relationship (and to God) through out my bouts with depression and despondency. Deep down in my heart, I know that I can always count on him for support, understanding and comfort.
Scott has better communication skills than I do. He listens empathetically and patiently to the things I say even when he is exhausted and I ramble on until 3 a.m. He tries to see things from my point of view before providing solutions or advice. And he knows when and how to help me see the other points of view in a situation when I need to see the big picture. I know I=m first in his thoughts, but he also helps me to be a better person when dealing with others.
I am an equal partner in our marriage. Scott values my opinions and genuinely wants to understand my thoughts. He discusses things with me before making important decisions. He respects me, my family, my friends, my choices, and my space.
Many women claim that their husbands are affectionate, sensitive and romantic, but my husband is incomparable. He expresses his love for me through simple, affectionate gestures like hugs, kisses, holding hands, phone calls, touching videos declaring his love for me, etc. He is attentive (sometimes overly so) and sensitive to my needs. He cheerfully does little things to make me happy and loved and cared for. He even learned that my two love languages are: Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts. He daily strives to speak at least one of those languages to me. Hearing the words and the praise makes me feel giddy and cherished. And his constant gifts of slide shows and cards definitely let me know how crazy he is about me.
I=ve made tons of mistakes, but Scott is able to always forgive and move on. He doesn=t take me or our relationship for granted. He appreciates the things I do for him and our family on a daily basis.
Scott is the financially responsible one in our marriage. Notice I did NOT mention Afinancially wealthy.@ He=s not a millionaire. Nor do I want him to be. But he has learned and is teaching me how to make wise financial decisions, plans and investments. I=m glad for his guidance, because I=m sure not a natural at the money thing.
Scott has other passions in life besides me. He loves the gospel! He loves tennis! He loves his work! He loves the Jets! He deeply believes and feels that life is wonderful and worth living. He=s committed to life long learning and self development.
Scott is confident, but not arrogant. He=s a born leader. He=s a great protector. And he is a fabulous provider for our family.
But most of all, Scott loves me just they way I am. When I was at my heaviest weight (nearly 300 lbs.) I felt ugly and useless. But Scott never Asaw@ that in me. He always reassured me that I was good enough just the way I was B in fact, in his eyes, I was the best. He accepted me as a total package B the good and the not-so-good. He encouraged me to learn and grow to my fullest potential. I always felt and feel beautiful when I=m around him.
Scott is also an amazing father. In 1998, we had our first baby - a girl. A few years later another baby girl was born into our family. Scott was and is an amazing father to daughters. I=ve always felt that fathers teach their daughters how they should expect to be treated by males when they get older. They teach them by the way they speak and act toward them and through their treatment of other females especially their wife/mother. Scott has set an example of gentleness and respectfulness towards me and the girls. He has taught our daughters with love and firmness. He respects the gospel and his priesthood authority. He is not only my hero as a husband, but also a true hero to my daughters through his love and patience. He has also had to act as a buffer sometimes between my and my daughters when the atmosphere at home becomes highly charged. (With three females who love theater, it happens.) Key Lime Pie and Kotten Kandy are lucky to have such an amazing father figure in their lives.
If you were to ask Scott for his motto in life, I believe he would say, ATrust God and always do your best.@ Lots of others might give this advice too, but the thing about Scott is that he really does it. He doesn't get upset when things go wrong because he knows God is with him. Instead he does the best he can, and everyone around can see how wonderful and kind Scott is. He would never see himself as one of the greatest men who ever lived, but I see him that way.
Today, many identify celebrities, athletes, and movie stars as role models and heroes. But my hero is not a celebrity. He doesn=t even enjoy playing sports. And he=d rather read a good book than go to the movies. My hero is my father. He is there each day, doing what he does, showing that he cares, and providing for his family. He is my dad!
Dad grew up in a home without the true gospel of Jesus Christ. His mother had breast cancer, and his father was concerned about his wife=s health. Because dad was the youngest, he had a bit more freedom than his older brother and sister. Dad was an avid reader, and loved learning. He taught himself the guitar. And he managed to keep himself pretty much out of Atrouble@, until he met a pretty girl at a football game. Her unusual name and smile encouraged him to learn more about her. On their first date, she informed him that she would not marry anyone unless it was in the temple. That was the first time dad was introduced to the Mormon church.
Mom, the cute girl from the football game, persuaded dad to take the missionary discussions. He did. But he did not join the church right away. It took enlisting in the army as a conscientious objector and boot camp to convince my father of the truthfulness of the gospel. Dad joined the church and sent for mom to marry him in Germany.
Dad has always shared his testimony of the Book of Mormon and the doctrines of the church with us. His testimony has always been a strength for me. His affirmation of his beliefs is beyond powerful. I love to hear my father share his witness of the integrity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dad has always expressed his love for mom. He=s made sure that all of his children know that our mother is his sweetheart first and foremost. I always loved hearing dad tell us how much he loves mom and that she is his girlfriend. He=s written beautiful songs expressing his love for mom that will be a great heritage for our children. Mutual respect between a child's parents is important. And dad didn=t just preach that, he lived it. Dad made parenting a partnership, he was always on the same page about how to discipline and reward us as mom was. They were always consistent and fair.
Dad was not only a fantastic husband, he was a incredible father. And his role as my father is where I realized what a true hero my dad really is!
Dad knew that fatherhood was a big responsibility, but he also thought it was a lot of fun. He always showed my brothers, sister and I that he enjoyed being our dad. He spent time with us. He supported us in all of our activities. And he made us laugh.
When we were really young, dad would play the sock game with us. He would grab all of his socks and run around the house throwing them at us. We would squeal with delight as he pelted us with the soft sock balls.
Dad also used to sing lullabies to us each night before bed. All four of us would line up on his and mom=s bed waiting for our turn on dad=s lap in the rocking chair. We each would get to choose two songs for him to sing to us as he rocked us. He always sang AYou Are My Sunshine@ to me, and I would beg him to also sing AO My Father.@ To this day, I can=t sing that song in church without wiping away happy tears of my own earthly father=s love for me.
Some fathers miss opportunities to spend time with their kids because they have competing responsibilities or interests. Not my dad. He was always there for us. Dad would talk with us, guide us and love us. He always showed up for anything we felt was important. Dad attended all of G.J.=s volleyball games. He attended all of Zane=s cross-country meets. And he attended all of Ben=s basketball games. Dad never missed a musical performance or theatrical performance of mine either.
My first lead role was in the musical, Oklahoma. I was playing the role of Ado Annie. I was nervous beyond belief. Opening night, I received a red rose with a phantom mask in a vase. The note attached said, ADon=t be afraid. The Angel of Music is with you!@ I knew my dad was the sender of that sweet message. And I=ve never forgotten that he is my Angel of Music.
My first date was with my dad. The night before my 16th birthday, dad took me out to dinner and on a drive. In hindsight, his goal was to teach me what I should expect from a young man on a date. But I loved his attention, and his willingness to give up a night to spend time with his 15.999999 year old daughter.
All children need to be taught right from wrong. All children need to learn to make decisions. And dad was a phenomenal teacher. Not only did he teach for a living, but he brought his work home with him. He taught us both by word and example.
Some of my favorite teaching moments with dad were Family Home Evenings. As a convert to the church, dad learned about Family Home Evening and decided that he was going to implement it in our family. I don=t ever remember missing a Monday night Family night.
Dad taught us Ato everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven@ by waking us up one Monday morning and eating hot dogs. As the day progressed, we did every thing out of order; dinner for lunch, sleeping after dinner in our pajamas, and breakfast for dinner. I=ll never forget how horrible it was to eat hot dogs for breakfast. And I=ll always remember that we should do some things in the right season to appreciate them.
Dad taught us what Nephi must have felt like when his father fled with his family into the wilderness. One night, as we were fast asleep, dad woke us up and declared that we had to leave. We only had time to grab one outfit and our favorite stuffed animal. Dad grabbed the sleeping bags. Once we drove out of town, we crawled into our sleeping bags in the back of the truck, as dad read to us the story of Lehi=s families journey to escape into the wilderness.
Another lesson learned was when dad met a pirate on his way home from work. The pirate, dad said, had buried a treasure in our back yard and given dad the map. It looked authentic and we were anxious to find the treasure. X marked the spot. And we found the scriptures and fudge. I know that the most important treasure in our lives is the word of God and chocolate because of dad=s famous pirate lesson.
Dad never placed unreasonable expectations on any of us kids. He always helped me understand my desires and assess my capabilities and limitations. He helped me to set achievable goals. He encouraged me to meet my full potential. The best example of this was when I decided to major in music in college. Dad knew my natural talents were in math and science, not music. He told me he=d support me in any decision I made. And he did. There were times music seemed so hard, but dad was always there to encourage me. He never pushed me to go into science or computers, although sometimes I think I should have. His love, encouragement and help is why I have a music degree. My bachelor=s degree should have two names on it: mine and Gary McCallister.
The greatest thing about my dad is that he realizes that a father=s job is never done. When I went to college, my dad still supported me. When I married Scott, dad still gave me father=s blessings. When I had children, dad wrote songs to inspire and teach me and my children. When
we moved far away, dad bought cell phones for us to keep in contact. Dad has always encouraged me to become financially and emotionally independent, but I also know that he is always there for me and that I am of worth in his eyes!
I read once that for Latter-day Saints, no calling or role surpasses a parent's personal obligation to guide his/her children in righteousness. Dad has done that and more. No wonder he is my hero. He deserves to be.