Their connection is romantic comedy worthy.
When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.
The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.
Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.
“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”
Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.
Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲♬ iris -
“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”
Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”
The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.
"No the chills I got omggg."
"This is the cutest thing I have watched."
"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"
In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.
Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.
They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."
"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.
A simple idea with big impact.
School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.
Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.
The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”
For Teachers/Therapists: I worked in a CT elementary school when Sandy Hook happened.
What helped: We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the “other kids who were scared” have something calm to look at.
— Dr. K8 PsyD (@psych_k8) May 25, 2022
“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.
It also took some pressure off to focus on making “other kids” feel better. Campbell noted that even if they are scared, it’s “easier to talk about the ‘other kids.’”
Rather than use the word “safe,” which can “be a loaded concept for kids who never feel safe,” Campbell used “calm,” and “peaceful,” which really resonated with the students.
But really, it gave the kids something to “do” that felt useful. Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless. And they loved the idea that they could help “other kids” feel better (they were the scared ones, but it’s easier to talk about the “other kids”)— Dr. K8 PsyD (@psych_k8) May 25, 2022
Pretty soon, the school was filled with “rainbows, beaches, pretty flowers, playgrounds, and happy scenery,” which stayed up for weeks.
“I’m pretty sure it helped the adults too,” she quipped.
Art therapy can be a valuable tool for any age, but it can be particularly beneficial for children who (hopefully) have not had the complex, hard-to-articulate emotions that come as a result of trauma. As psychologist Cathy Malchiodi explains in her book “The Art Therapy Sourcebook,” “the language of visual art—colors, shapes, lines, and images—speak to us in ways that words cannot.”
Incorporating a sense of helping others and focusing on “calm” images was another brilliant layer Campbell added onto her exercise, and she soon received a flood of support for her suggestion. Overall, people were relieved and inspired.
“Beautiful use of a simple mindfulness practice to foster peace, calm, and altruism-all important in times of crisis. Thanks for sharing,” one person wrote.
“Honestly the idea made me feel like a breath of fresh air. Such a sweet and positive thing, so simple but effective,” wrote another.
The massacre at Robb Elementary in Ulvade, Texas, is the second-deadliest elementary school shooting in the United States, following Sandy Hook in 2012. There’s no way around these statistics. It’s nauseating and horrific. I feel for the parents and teachers trying to fight for change, protect their children and keep up morale all at the same time. Happy doodles might seem trivial during such a dark period for humanity, but as Campbell can attest, they do make a difference.
I almost didn't create this post this week.
As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.
I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.
It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.
When we have inhumanity violently shoved in our faces, we have to be reminded of our humanity. When we've witnessed the worst of us, we need to see who and what we can be at our best. When senseless, heinous acts turn the world upside down, we need to be reminded of what it looks like right-side up.
These weekly roundups of joy often include gratuitously adorable animal videos and such, and I would argue that there's a place for such lightheartedness under normal circumstances. But this week, I want to focus on us, on the goodness and beauty of everyday humanity. To remind us of what we're supposed to be—and what we still are—despite the horrors perpetrated by a handful of people.
If you're looking for reminders of our humanity right now, whether it's people doing good or good things about people, here are some simple things to get you started.
1. The beauty of forming unexpected connections with perfect strangers.
\u201cOne man at this coffee shop just sneezed, the guy next to him said bless you, he said thanks and asked \u201chey, what are you working on?\u201d and now they are discussing Roman history in depth, both delighted with their new friend, it\u2019s the most beautiful thing I\u2019ve ever seen???\u201d— Lucy Huber (@Lucy Huber) 1652800251
And after their chat, they made plans to get together again. More friendship meet-cutes like this one, please.
2. Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones.
Happy Sunday❤️. Is school out for you??
Humans also help out strangers—even ones they'll never actually meet. Summer Clayton is the "father" of 2.4 million "kids" and he couldn’t be more proud. Read the full story here.
3. Andy Grammer and PS22 remind us of the power of music, especially when we make it together.
And they did it with a sweet song about being there for one another, no less.
"Children singing has such a special power," wrote Grammer in his Facebook post. "I personally choked up multiple times throughout the day. The unbridled excitement and giddiness of an elementary school mixed with the sincerity and reverence they brought to this song was too much for me to handle."
4. Humans help out struggling penguin babies with adorable stuffed surrogates.
Zookeepers have stepped in to help care for the newest inhabitants of the zoo's Penguin Beach after it was discovered their parents were struggling with caring for them. The keepers have become the penguins' stand-in parents, hand-rearing the little penguins in the zoo's nursery and using stuffed surrogates for the babies to snuggle with.
Read the full story here.
5. The messages from this grandma, reminding us of the beauty of loving family bonds.
"I love you from Einstein bagels!" "I love you from my front room!" So sweet. Click the arrow to scroll through. You won't be sorry.
6. The way humans get silly together when we're bored.
The way we find fun with friends is one of the best things about us.
7. And the way we find creative ways to make ourselves laugh.
Why is anthropomorphizing vegetables so hilarious?
8. The human instinct—and ability—to express ourselves through dance is just amazing.
May 25 was National Tap Dancing Day, so seems like a perfect time to dust off the "Tap" Challenge Scene with some of the most iconic tap dancers in the history of Hollywood. Look what humans can do. It's a marvel.
9. The utterly pure, gushing expression of love from this wee one to their baby sister.
We are wired to love. See babies for proof.
10. And this reminder of life as it should be—and can be—for our kids.
\u201cThe teachers at the school nearby are throwing an outdoor kindergarten dance party with the music turned all the way up (they usually only do this on the last day of school). They look exhausted. The kids are, and I cannot stress this enough, DELIRIOUS with joy.\u201d— Sara Benincasa (@Sara Benincasa) 1653500374
I hate to yank us back to the present reality, but this is such a beautiful and fitting response to it. In the midst of our grief, we can create a space for joy and revel in it. Turn up the music. Let those babies dance till they're delirious.
It's what humans do.
As we navigate the awful, let's keep looking for and lifting up and sharing the good.
Take care, everyone.