Alexis Lazarus of Commack recalls meeting her future husband, Sean, and his dog.
In 2011, I was 22 and working on my master’s degree in speech-language pathology at the Brookville campus of LIU Post. I lived in Commack.
Most of my time was spent in the J.M. Ladge Speech and Hearing Center on campus. When I arrived at the center one day I saw a man walking his dog and asked permission to pet her. Her name was Jasmine and she was a chow/Shar-Pei mix. She growled and barked at me.
I saw them a few days later. This time Sean Lazarus introduced himself. I told him my name was Alexis Gaines. We started chatting. He graduated from Arizona State University and was working as the assistant director of student conduct at LIU. He lived on campus. Sean adopted Jasmine while in Arizona. She was a rescue dog that had been found in the desert. I tried to pet her again, but she was still apprehensive. After a few more encounters, Sean asked for my phone number and a date.
He wanted to impress me, so he took me to his favorite restaurant, Shiro of Japan in Carle Place. Unbeknownst to him, I hate Hibachi-style dining. During dinner I sat with a smile on my face and tried not to wince every time the chef banged on the grill or tossed a shrimp our way.
Sean grew up in Jamesport. His family still lived there and we spent most of our courtship visiting the North Fork. We began talking about getting married. I don’t like surprises, so I told him I wanted our engagement to be a quiet moment between the two of us.
One day in November 2012, we drove to the Clovis Point Winery in Jamesport. Although it was a warm day, Sean had on a coat that was completely buttoned, and he was sweating. I suggested he open his coat, but he insisted he was chilly.
At the winery, Sean asked one of the staff to take our picture outside. As I stood facing the camera, he got on one knee, took an engagement ring from inside his coat and proposed. My mother had helped him pick the ring.
Attendees at a bachelorette party inside the tasting room noticed and started banging on the window and cheering. So much for a quiet engagement!
We were married on Oct. 12, 2014, at Carlyle on the Green at Bethpage State Park. Sean is an avid golfer, so walking barefoot on Bethpage Black in a wedding dress and tuxedo on a gorgeous day was truly incredible. Sean’s mom, Kathi, had passed away a few months earlier, so we like to think the beautiful, sunny weather was from her.
We bought our house in Commack in 2015 and in September 2016 we welcomed our baby daughter. In addition to Jasmine (who eventually accepted me), we have my dog and two rescue cats.
Sean teaches history at the High School of Fashion Industries in Manhattan and is working on his doctorate in educational leadership and technological innovation through Arizona State University.
I am a speech-language pathologist for the New York City Department of Education in Howard Beach, Queens, and have my private practice on Long Island. I also write a blog called Practically Speeching.
We celebrated our second anniversary in October with a dinner at Chipotle and a visit to Babies R Us and Home Depot.
— With Virginia Dunleavy