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19 Years and Counting How I Met the Love of My Life
T his month, my beautiful wife and I are celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary. As I look around at the life we’ve built together, I’m endlessly grateful that Laura came into my life all those years ago. In the middle of PT school, I had a good friend, Shannon, who I used to study with all the time. The complex anatomy and exercise science you learn in PT school is more challenging than I think most people realize, and it was necessary to really hit the books regularly. We’d meet often to quiz each other on the latest information that we were supposed to be assimilating and make sure we were on track to reach our goals. Shannon told me about a friend she had named Laura, who had dated a few guys that Shannon didn’t particularly care for. Flatteringly, she considered me among the upstanding men in her life and decided to introduce us to one another. Our first date was more of a pseudo-date, to be honest. We got together at Olive Garden, while Shannon was on her serving shift, with a couple of friends.
person willing to take on any challenge that presented itself to her. For example, when Shannon and Laura were renting a house with a couple other roommates, Laura decided to dig out space for a pool in the backyard. She’s always been willing to work hard for the things she wants.
About a year after we had started dating, we both took a trip down to Santa Barbara for the weekend. We had reservations Friday night at one of the nicest restaurants we’d ever eaten in. It was a great meal, but I didn’t bring the ring along that particular night. Instead, I waited until we were on a bike ride the next morning. The whole time, I kept checking my pocket to make sure the ring was still there. Eventually, we found a gorgeous cliffside overlooking the ocean. When I finally got down on one knee and popped the question, my hands were shaking. “Yes!” she said, tearfully surprised. But, seeing my trembling, she added, “Are you sure?” I was sure, and I haven’t looked back since. There’s nobody on earth that I could imagine having by my side for these past 19 years. She’s the ideal mom, and she homeschools the kids three days a week. Laura and I share a vital connection — stronger than anybody I’ve ever met. This September, we’ll be sure to take a long weekend to get away and celebrate together, though I’m not sure where we’ll go. Maybe we’ll go back to Santa Barbara to relive those early moments in our relationship — this time with less trembling.
From then on, we moved slowly. In fact, in my mind, there was no chance I was going to be married before I turned 30. It just
wasn’t something I was thinking about. But when you meet somebody you have such a deep connection with, plans tend to change. It didn’t take me long to realize that Laura was a special person. On the one hand, she was incredibly friendly and easy to talk to, but she was also a deeply driven
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- Julian Manrique
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