The Winning Love Story
Most fairytales begin with once upon a time and end with happily ever after. In between there is a damsel in distress and a prince charming who saves the day. But the truth is, as many of us know, real life never really starts with a once upon a time and rarely does it end with a happily ever after. However, life is filled with the choices we make, the moments we never forget, and the people who change everything. I may not be a prince, and the love of my life may not be a damsel in distress, but our story has all the classic elements of a perfect fairytale: love, challenges, a little bit of fate and two people who plan to live happily ever after.
The Once Upon a Time...
Once upon a time…it was the summer of 2003 and I, Eddie Rubin, was going through the typical teenage angst of relationships. Those relationships consisted of dating for a week, breaking up, getting back together and then inevitably breaking up again. Relationships were fickle and every time you dated someone you felt like that person was the one...until they dumped you. Most sixteen-year-old boys are concerned with one thing and we all know it is not finding the girl you are going to spend the rest of your life with. Yet, that summer, with fate on my side, I met Michelle and my world was forever changed.
Michelle, and I had both been involved in the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization for quite some time and as fate would have it, we ended up at the same weekend retreat. I had known who Michelle was and our paths had crossed a few times. Looking back I am still not sure what the defining moment was that weekend, but for the first time our paths actually collided and there was an instant connection between us. Later Michelle told me she had been considering not attending the weekend, but at the last minute, another friend had convinced her to come. Fate brought us together and we never looked back.
After the weekend ended, I called her and we went to a movie with a group of people. When I dropped Michelle off, I did not kiss her. She has never let me live this down, but I still say it was all part of the plan because that one movie turned into another, then another, and next thing we know we were inseparable. We spent every night of that summer together going to concerts, swimming, movies and more. That summer really was like a scene out of a movie. Yet, as the summer ended our 16-year-old minds were overwhelmed with fear. Would things change? Would we ever see each other if we went to different high schools? Looking back it is comical to think how afraid we were over such little things. Of course, as we went back to school that fall things did change, but not in the way we had feared. Rather than grow apart or never get to see each other, our relationship grew from a summer fling to something real. We began to experience life together and Michelle became not just my girlfriend but also my best friend and my biggest fan.
The next big change came when Michelle went off to the University of Michigan. Michelle is a year older than me so she went off to college as I began my senior year of high school. Once again, the unknown overwhelmed us - could we really make it with her away at college and me still back home? Our fears were soon quelled with frequent trips to Ann Arbor, video chat dates, and surprise visits whenever I could. We made it through another hurdle and one year later, I joined Michelle at the University of Michigan.
Those three years we spent together at U of M were some of the best. We had a great circle of friends, we experienced new things together, and we began to plan our lives together. We grew up during these years and most importantly, we grew up together. We discovered a newfound respect and love for each other and our relationship. We were beginning to figure out the rest of our lives and we both realized that "the rest of our lives" included one another. Yet, at the same time we supported each other’s goals and dreams. She spent a summer in New York City so I came to see her when I could. A year later, I spent a summer in California, and Michelle was right there with me driving across the country to get my car to California. No matter what it was, we were there for each other, offering love and support, but always allowing enough room to grow independently. Of course, not every moment was perfect, like every couple, we had our arguments or disagreements but as we grew we learned to be a team and work through these difficult moments.
It was during my junior year that our relationship was tested again. My father was diagnosed with cancer and my world was turned upside down. Sure, Michelle and I had been through ups and downs but nothing could prepare either of us for the battle ahead. Yet, through it all Michelle was there by my side; every step of the way she was there to help both my family and me. After she graduated, Michelle took a job in New York City as I finished my senior year in Ann Arbor. Being apart was difficult, but we managed to make it work. Unfortunately, this was also when my father’s cancer came back. I will never forget the day my mom called me to tell me this devastating news. I was a wreck and Michelle was walking out the door when I called her. I told her I was fine, but she knew me too well. She canceled her plans and we sat on the phone for hours. Even hundreds of miles apart, we were always there for each other. When my father passed away a few months later, Michelle was on the first plane home. And of course, she was not empty handed. She had in tow the most ridiculous talking gorilla stuffed animal and a bag of all my favorite candy. Michelle always remembers the little things, and she knew all too well that a ridiculous toy and a good sugar high was just what I needed. She really was my anchor at a time when everything seemed to be falling apart. Without her love and support, I am not sure how I would have ever gotten through it.
The Happily Ever After...
When Michelle moved to New York, we had not really figured out the future. We knew we wanted to be together but we also knew that we both needed the opportunity to grow and develop our own careers. Together we were committed to a life together, even if it meant being apart for a little bit longer. But that would all change when just a few months after my father’s passing and my graduation from U of M, Michelle returned to Michigan for law school. Today she is in her second year working harder than ever, and I am working tirelessly to expand the film company I started while in college. At 25, our lives are filled with unpredictability, but one thing is always certain, we have each other.
Eight and a half years later, we are still together and there is no doubt in either of our minds that we are in this forever. We may not have a lot of money yet, and we are both still developing our careers, but I know that no matter where life takes us we are in this together. Life as we have learned will always present challenges, but through the good and the bad, there is no one else I would rather have by my side. Not everyone is as lucky as me, at sixteen I found Michelle, my girlfriend, my future wife, and truly my best friend. Our engagement will be only one more chapter in this magical story.
Now that you have read our story, I hope this video gives you a glimpse into the incredible journey we have shared over these last eight and a half years. I hope you will see what I have always known, that Michelle and I are truly living the next great love story.
Congratulations, Eddie and Michelle!
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