A Dolce Love Story
A lot of love and support made Sonny and Rachel’s love story come true.
Love can happen anywhere and at any time. Throughout history, true love has proven to break the confines of culture, class, religion, race and age. Those who have experienced love know that the cliché of butterflies fluttering in their stomachs is as real as the air they breathe. They know that contrary to popular beliefs, feelings described in Harlequin romances actually hold insurmountable truths. They believe that while life is not always a fairytale, happy endings do exist. These people also know that you do not get to choose whom you fall for or where you meet – it sort of just happens. For Sonny Kohli and Rachel Ross, it took place under the fluorescent lights of a hospital cafeteria three years ago.
While there’s no mentioning of an illustrious glass slipper in this story, Rachel’s blond hair and piercing blue eyes play a striking resemblance to a familiar fairytale heroin. “I was carrying a tray of food and as I walked down the ramp my napkin flew off. As I turned around, Sonny was down on one knee picking it up for me,” says the 31-year-old nurse. As an accomplished physician, Sonny was on his first day of a two-week rotation at the hospital. “There was an instant connection. I couldn’t stop smiling and I just remember her brand-new white running shoes,” laughs 36-year-old Sonny, who at the time was also an astronaut recruit for the Canadian Space Agency. They parted ways. It was only after some coaxing from a co-worker that Sonny gained the confidence to visit Rachel’s floor on his last day to ask her out. She said yes.
When Rachel reached the destination for their first date, she placed one foot out of the car and said, “I have a three-year-old daughter named Rylee and we’re a package deal! If you don’t want to go out, I understand.” Sonny was blown away. “I just love that she’s a mom first,” he says. Needless to say, the date took place.
As a single-mom living in a cramped space, Rachel often sought solace in a photograph of a tree she had bought years ago. On her second date with Sonny she told him that she dreamed of finding it one day. Two years later, Sonny contacted the photographer, located the tree in New York’s Central Park and took Rachel on a surprise trip. It was beneath its symbolic branches that Sonny dropped a napkin that read, “Will you marry me?” “I just kept yelling “yes!” she beams, adding that they both burst into tears moments after.
Sonny and Rachel had two weddings: an intimate ceremony atop a mountain in Banff, Alberta, and a lavish Indian wedding in July 2009. Over 250 guests watched as they danced to “Lullaby” by the Dixie Chicks with their daughter. “Now Rylee’s fully my daughter. I can’t fathom her not being in my life,” says Sonny. The song’s lyrics, “Is forever enough?” could not have been more fitting. “I’m dying with Rachel and that’s it. It may not always be pretty, but we’re going to make it work,” he says softly as he reaches for Rachel’s hand.
Oftentimes, people are so caught up in the idea of fairytales that they do not give someone a try if they don’t fit into the tight mould of what they were looking for. “I broke Sonny’s entire checklist. I was a different culture, race and I already had a daughter. We always tell people never to close doors,” says Rachel with an inspiring tone of hope. “Continue doing the things you love,” says Sonny, “because those things define you.”
Do you believe in love?