Everyone knows at one least one set of friends that became highschool sweethearts, but does anybody know any preschool sweethearts? Neither had we until we encountered the story of Matt Grodsky and Laura Sheel. They met when they were preschoolers at the age of three. They became great friends and were inseparable. Matt even told Laura that he’d marry her in front of their whole class.
But as they grew older they attended different schools and the distance slowly became apparent between the two of them. Time went on and they forgot about each other, until one day…
The story begins when they met 25 years ago, they became close friends at there preschool in Phoenix, Arizona. The two would do everything together as preschoolers.
They met one day when Matt noticed Laura playing on the playground, he liked her and wanted to be her friend. He wouldn’t take no for an answer and followed Laura wherever she went, she grew fond of having Matt around and they became good friends.
Matt wanted to be friends with Laura so desperately that he would follow her around al day. “I don’t remember the first time I saw her, but she was always a girl who let me follow her around.” He told reporters in an interview with Today.
When Laura first noticed Matt following her, she thought he was a funny boy. Then she got to know him and found out how sweet he was. Soon the pair were best friends and they did everything together.
Soon the pair didn’t just want to hang out at school and since their parents were well acquainted at this point that they arranged playdates on the weekends. Their parents would take them to the movies and Matt would even hold Laura’s hand through any scary scenes.
The two were so close to one another, Matt was only four but he couldn’t hold in his feelings any longer, and he didn’t care what his class thought.
We can’t believe how innocent we were as kids when we’d try to impress our friends with silly things like how high we could climb a tree or how many pokemon cards we had collected. Those were the days!
Matt was always trying to impress Laura and the one he was proud of the most were all The Lion King lines he could remember and recite to her. It was their favorite movie after all.
Even though Matt was always trying his best to impress Laura, she would impress him with little effort. She taught him how to swing, how to draw rollings hills, and the “right” way to eat string cheese.
These things might seem like very small accomplishments but we should look at them with perspective. As a child anything new learned is huge and you’ll remember the one who taught you for the rest of your life.
When they both turned four it was well known that Matt and Laura were best of buds. Anyone could see the bond that the two shared especially on weekends. Their bond was something truly special and a lot of people thought it was a romance, even little Matt.
Matt decided in the moment one day to declare his love for Laura. He stood up and shouted that he would marry her. To no one’s surprise, the class erupted in laughter. We may also think it’s silly since not a lot of school friends stay in touch.
Everyone thought that Matt’s declaration was just a joke. The two were still great friends all through preschool and kept having playdates and special birthday parties.
Just because they were four doesn’t mean that what they had was anything less special than a more mature friendship. Maybe what Matt said was so much of a joke after all? But when kindergarten came around, the two were going to have to get used to a drastic lifestyle change.
Time seems to fly as the two bonded, it was already time to start kindergarten. Their preschool days were behind them and they were going to take their education a step higher.
Kindergarten is a big deal for any kid. The two felt excited to start their new adventure but were very sad as well. They didn’t know if they would be in the same class as they were before.
Sadly, not only were they not in the same class but they weren’t even put in the same school. Their parents didn’t do this on purpose but rather out of what was best for their children and where they lived.
The two were crushed that they couldn’t be with each other anymore. Their parents didn’t seem to realize just how close the two were just because they were young. They told them that they would still be able to see each other every weekend. But that wasn’t enough.
Their parents assured the two pals that would still get to play together on the weekends, but this was only partially true. Life gets busy, and before they knew it, Matt and Laura’s time together was steadily dwindling.
Still, the duo tried to hang out whenever they could. They even took this sweet Christmas card photo with two of their other friends one year! Unfortunately, as the two finished kindergarten and went on to other grades, they started seeing each other on fewer occasions. They didn’t know that Christmas cards would eventually become their only form of communication.
As the years went by, Matt and Laura saw each other at a declining rate. While they once played every day and even took Christmas photos together, now the old friends only kept in touch when their families exchanged Christmas cards in the mail.
While the two missed each other, they were busy with school, homework, family, and new friends. It appeared they were simply going through the motions of everyday life.
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but this isn’t always true. It definitely wasn’t true for Matt and Laura. Several years passed and the two old friends no longer eagerly awaited new Christmas cards. They were growing up and living their own separate lives.
As we grow up and are constantly learning new things, meeting new people, and having new experiences, it’s all too easy to forget about our past. For a moment in time, it seemed as though Matt and Laura had had a sweet childhood friendship but had grown up and moved on.
Before they knew it, nearly 10 years had passed and Matt and Laura were ready to start high school. Again, they were enrolled in different schools. At this point, the old frie nds rarely thought about each other. After all, it had been almost a decade since they were really close.
But one day, something unbelievable happened. During the fall of her freshman year, Laura was on her friend’s phone when she noticed a familiar name pop up. It was Matt Grodsky!
Laura was shocked to see Matt’s name before her eyes and suddenly the sweet childhood memories came flooding back! She asked her friend how she knew Matt and apparently, the two had met in middle school. Suddenly, the world was feeling much, much smaller!
Laura told her friend about her and Matt’s preschool romance. She decided it was best not to think too much about it, but her friend had other ideas…
Immediately after Laura finished telling her friend about her and Matt’s preschool romance, her friend had a crazy idea. She wanted to set Matt and Laura up! Laura’s friend thought about it and realized it could be a good match.
Laura’s friends told her the idea, but Laura was hesitant at first. After all, she knew nothing about Matt anymore. The two hadn’t spoken in years. There was no way things would be the same. Or would they?
Laura was understandably nervous at the idea of being set up with Matt. Not only was she nervous, but she wasn’t even sure if she should really have a boyfriend at the time.
Laura told People, “I was a freshman in high school so I was like, ‘I don’t think so!’” But despite her reservations, Laura’s friend had a good feeling about her two friends. She went ahead and gave Laura’s number to Matt. She never expected the reaction from Matt!
Not long after Matt got Laura’s number, he texted her and soon enough, the two were chatting and agreed to meet up. They set up a date and decided they would go see a movie together.
The two met up and immediately it was like no time at all had passed. Matt even told People that he knew it was love at first sight. Just like when they were in preschool, the old friends hit it off right away!
While Matt and Laura had been best friends in preschool, there was no way to know that they would hit it off now that they were teenagers. Their first date went off without a hitch and soon enough they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
Although they went to different high schools, now that they were able to drive, it was easier to keep up with their relationship. Once again, they were inseparable, accompanying each other to high school dances and other functions. But with college on the horizon, things were about to change yet again.
With their senior year in full swing and college on the horizon, the couple had a tough decision to make. They had already been separated once before and didn’t want to lose each other again. But they were going to different colleges in different states and didn’t want to miss out on experiences either.
“Right after we graduated from high school, we were pretty hesitant,” said Laura in an interview with People. “We were like, ‘Do we stay together? Do we try to make it work?’” They had gone to different schools before, but this time, they would be 1,000 miles away.
Eventually, Matt and Laura decided they would go away to their respective colleges but would try to make a long-distance relationship work. While Laura went to Northern Arizona University, Matt moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College. They were now 1,600 miles away from each other.
While distance may not have made their hearts grow fonder when they were just kids, this time it was different. They were committed to making it work!
The couple knew being so far apart would be a challenge, but they cared so deeply for each other that they wanted to do everything they could to make it work. They made sure to fully immerse themselves in college life, but also keep up a healthy relationship with one another.
This wasn’t always easy, especially because they were in different time zones. But thanks to social media and Facetime, they were able to “see” each other every day. They even made frequent trips to visit one another in their new homes.
Although they had social media and Facetime to keep up with one another, they still had long stretches of time when they couldn’t see each other in person. The longest stretch they had between visits was nearly six months.
While they were in college, they each realized something big: they truly wanted to be together. But the distance between them was becoming a challenge for both of them — especially Matt. He knew he had to do something about it.
Soon enough, it was senior year all over again, only this time it was their senior year of college. Matt knew he wanted to celebrate the two starting their last year of school in a big way. While they were both home during the summer, he had an idea for an adorable date.
Since they both had been working so hard in school, he wanted to surprise Laura with a date that would be relaxing and romantic. He planned a picnic at their preschool! How sweet is that? But Matt had something else up his sleeve.
While Matt did indeed plan to have a relaxing and romantic picnic at the sweet location, that wasn’t all that he had planned.
“I convinced Laura that we were going to a picnic at the preschool. We had just finished up our junior year of college, so I framed it as a nice relaxing date,” Matt told the Huffington Post. Although they had been together for years at this point, Laura still never saw his surprise coming.
Laura knew that Matt had planned a picnic for the two of them, but she had no idea that he had planned for their picnic to be at the preschool where they met nearly 20 years ago.
Matt was more than excited to surprise Laura with the gesture. He thought the preschool was the perfect symbol to help celebrate their relationship. He truly valued their unique love story and wanted to take Laura back to where it all started.
Before the couple arrived at the preschool Laura noticed that Matt appeared to be nervous. He seemed to be constantly fidgeting in his seat the whole car ride. She figured it was because he was taking her to a surprise location.
When they finally arrived at the preschool, Laura was completely overwhelmed by the thoughtful gesture. She already felt so lucky to have Matt in her life, but now her emotions were running high.
Laura was already so surprised that Matt had planned this picnic for the two of them at their old preschool. But she was about to get an even bigger surprise when suddenly, Matt got down on one knee and asked his girl to marry him.
Laura was shocked. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, is this happening?’ I saw the ring and was like, ‘This is gorgeous. I’m so happy with it.’ I had no idea,” she told People. But of course, she said, “YES!” How did Matt pull off this surprise engagement?
Matt may have proposed to Laura on May 23, 2015, but he had been planning the special event for months. He purchased the gorgeous engagement ring months before, and even asked Laura’s dad for his blessing prior to popping the question.
Matt also made sure to have his brother hide out at the preschool so he could capture the engagement on camera. The cutest thing of all is that Matt used his parent’s old picnic basket that his father had used to propose to his mom! His parents even packed the basket with sparkling cider and wedding magazines. There was still one more surprise in store for Laura.
Although Matt and Laura were still in college, he decided he didn’t want to wait until they both graduated. He knew Laura was The One and wanted to make things official. So he decided to stay true to his preschool pledge.
“I proposed to her at the place it all began … our preschool classroom,” Matt proudly recalled to the Huffington Post. He added, “When you like someone, you just kind of stand up and say it.” That’s exactly what Matt did 20 years ago, and it’s what he did when he asked Laura to be his wife.