Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell - February 2019

February 2019 815-726-9999 | THEBKMS BULLETIN

To My Best Friend 20 Years and Counting

“OVER THE YEARS, JENNIFER AND I HAVE DONE A LOT OF GROWING TOGETHER.” When I look back on our relationship, it’s incredible how smoothly things went. After graduating high school, we went to the same college for two years until Jennifer had to transfer and finish her nursing program elsewhere. Our schools were only about an hour apart, so we made it work. Later, when I got accepted to law school out of state, we made the trek to Minnesota together. At every turn, things just worked out for us. I’m not the kind of guy who believes in fate, but it’s almost like Jennifer and I were meant to be. She’s my best friend, and we’ve always had a great time together. I’ll admit that I’ve known my wife for almost my whole life. Jennifer and I met when my family moved to Morris, Illinois, during my eighth-grade year. She and I were part of the same friend group, but we didn’t grow closer until we were juniors in high school. A couple of our other friends started dating, and instead of feeling like the third and fourth wheel with them, Jennifer and I started hanging out more. Things happened pretty organically. Soon we started dating as well, and everything kind of went from there.

I don’t remember our first date. We were in high school! But I do remember my favorite date. At the risk of sounding cheesy, my favorite date was our wedding day. It was nothing short of spectacular. Jennifer is amazing when it comes to party planning. As soon as I proposed, she had everything planned and booked within a couple of weeks. We said “I do” at a beautiful venue, surrounded by all our friends and family. Over the years, Jennifer and I have done a lot of growing together. We’ve changed a lot. Our relationship hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve been able to work the issues out together. Whether we’re having a bad day or a great one, we continue to make a good team. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without Jennifer by my side.

Jennifer was my biggest cheerleader when I was in law school. When our girls came along, she was basically a single parent for a while because I was still in the middle of studying for the bar exam. Her dedication helped me start my career and have a family. When Jennifer’s not there, everything is 20 times more complicated. She’s the glue that holds our life together and the fuel that keeps everything running. Jennifer challenges me to be a better man, and I love her more and more each day. Happy Valentine’s Day to my best friend. Jennifer, I couldn’t live without you.

–Brya n Shell

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