I’ll never forget the day I met my husband. I was eighteen, (but thought I had the maturity of a twenty-five-year-old). I walked into Athletes World, which was a shoe store at the time, with my résumé in hand, and my purse in the other. My intention was to come into the store, ask for the manager, and hand him or her my résumé. A guy came walking towards me, asking me if I needed help with anything. This guy was my soon to be “boyfriend”, I just had no idea that this is what the future had in store for me. I asked him if I could speak with the manager and he let me know that the manager would be back in a few moments. While I waited for the manager to return, I browsed the shoe wall. The young man introduced himself as Charles and asked me a few questions about the types of shoes I like.
Shortly after, the store manager returned. He decided to give me an interview on the spot, and during my interview… I was hired!
Over the course of the next few weeks, Charles and I had a ton of shifts with one another. He was always joking around, and we never had a dull moment. We would take our breaks with one another, and he would insist on buying my food, which was usually Koya Japan, teriyaki chicken on rice. And he always bought himself mexi-fries, from Taco Time. Our conversations usually consisted of us making fun of one another. He was the Canadian washed Asian guy from Surrey, and I was the half Asian girl, who loved Asian guys from Vancouver. He was down-to earth, very funny and not like the guys I was used to dating.
We eventually exchanged phone numbers, which is when the long, conversations that lasted until the other person fell asleep started. We talked about everything and anything, just to be on the phone with one another. I remember having a long conversation with him about procrastinating, and how I really needed to stop doing it. One day he picked me up for work, (I didn’t have a car and I didn’t know how to drive which meant, I didn’t even have a license yet.) When I got into the car, he had a gift wrapped up, with a pretty bow on top. I was so excited because the gift was wrapped so pretty, and when I said, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you wrapped this”, he replied with the cutest smirk, “Well, it’s almost Christmas and they have the gift wrapping booth right now.” (At least, he was honest!)
I had no idea what he could have bought me, and when I finally finished opening the gift, to my surprise it was… The procrastination Handbook! I thought this was such a thoughtful gift. In my opinion, it meant he was actually listening to what I was saying and wanted to find ways to support me.
In all honesty, I’m not sure if the book helped, because the crush that I was beginning to have on him, was a huge distraction, and anything that I was procrastinating, was being procrastinated that much more, to spend time with him.
I would check the work schedule to see if we had shifts with one another and if we did, my insides would get excited. I finally knew I liked him when a new girl started to work with us. My eighteen-year-old jealousy would kick in, (guess this is proof I wasn’t as mature as I thought) when he would talk to her. He told me after I became his girlfriend, that flirting with her was his trick in getting me to like him. He wanted to make me jealous! I hate to admit, but it worked!
A few months later we went to our work Christmas party as friends, and by the end of the evening, let’s just say our lips locked and we became a little more than just friends.
A few days after the work Christmas party he left on a trip to England with his family for Christmas. Apparently, he talked about me a lot on this trip. I know now because his cousins told me later. He returned from his trip with a bunch of gifts, which included my favorite movie, Moulin Rouge, a key chain, and a pair of Nike dry fit underwear. He thought it was pretty cool, that Nike made dry fit underwear for ladies😂
We continued our “friendship” with out labeling one another boyfriend and girlfriend until Valentines Day came around. He planned a dinner date at Bridges, followed by a night out to a club. He said his valentines gift was waiting at his place. When we arrived at his place, his bedroom was transformed into a valentines dream! Although looking back, the decor was quite tacky, it didn’t matter at the time. The entire room was filled with heart-shaped balloons, he even bought heart-shaped pillows! There were swirly hearts hanging from the ceiling, chocolates on the pillows, and to top it off, he had champagne chilling in the washroom by the bathtub! It was the baby duck, but hey, when you’re twenty years old, that’s some classy stuff!
This was the night that I said yes to being his girlfriend, I mean, how could a girl possibly shut a guy down after all that romance and effort!
Once we became official, we began to spend every day with one another, and I mean every day! One day, he decided to teach me how to drive. I didn’t have my learners at the time and while I was behind the wheel, I was starting to get the hang of things! I became overly confident and we decided to go on the main roads. My very first turn at a busy intersection was approaching and during the turn, I drove directly into a women’s front bumper that was waiting at a red light! I cranked the wheel too hard during the turn and slowly drove into her car! The accident happened in slow motion, and the damage was small.
We decided to settle things on our own, simply because we really had no other choice. Charles ended up paying to fix her front bumper and let’s just say he didn’t teach me to drive again for a while.
My nineteenth birthday approached shortly after my non-license, slow motion car accident. I remember Charles showing up at my house with a small strawberry short-cake and some roses. He apologized for not being able to take me out, or get me a gift, because the truth was, he used most of his money, to pay for the woman’s bumper. I could care less about a fancy gift. The act of him showing up at my place, right before midnight on my birthday was sweet enough.
Twelve and a half years and three daughters later, we still rarely buy one another expensive gifts. Having our daughters, has been the most precious gift that we share, and since we’ve had them, they have been our priority.
Having them at a young age, while also pursuing our own careers and continuing our education, definitely has had its challenges, especially financially.
Our first place together, almost thirteen years ago, with our first daughter, was a teeny, tiny basement suite. We were living off of one fifteen dollars an hour income.
With the support of our family, and most importantly, the support that we give to one another, we have always found a way to make the best of our situation.
While most people are still figuring themselves out in their twenties, our life was playing in fast forward. We were raising our children, evolving as people and as a couple. We are now in our thirties, and life still feels like it’s playing in fast-forward, especially when we watch how fast our children are growing up!
Our life together hasn’t always been easy, but it has been most definitely worth it.
When people ask, how many children we have, and I tell them three, they are usually pretty shocked. They always reply with, “You look so young, though! I can’t believe you guys have an eleven-year-old.” I used to tell people that we did everything backward. Kids, marriage and then a house. But then I decided to stop telling people that we did everything backward because we did everything, imperfectly on our own terms.
This is what makes our story unique.
When people ask us what’s our secret, we have both replied with, “The secret to a healthy marriage is laughter” You have to laugh, and not take everything so seriously.
Life is too short.
There have been many occasions when the two of us argue and then it literally results in us laughing at how silly or in some cases, crazy we are being.
Another piece of advice we give (when asked) is… never go to bed angry. In all the years that we have been with one another, we have always tried to resolve our differences before we go to bed, even if that means, going to bed at 4 am!
I’ve been so blessed to spend my life with a man who makes me a better woman. A man who has enriched not only me but our daughters with the gift of laughter, time, attention and love, every single day.
These gifts are invaluable. If you haven’t found your love story just yet, then I guarantee that a love story worth sharing will be one where the both of you, shower one another with gifts, that you can’t put a price tag on.
There are so many beautiful love stories out there, but ours is my favorite. ❤️