Need an example of how to make a difference? Meet Ms. Reifler.
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.
It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.
Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.
Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.
"We were already calling her mom because it felt so natural."
Sisters Gabriella and Julianna Ruvolo know that they're extremely lucky. Their stepmom Becky Ruvolo has been there for them for most of their lives and it's clear that they're grateful to her for it. On May 9, Gabriella posted a video to TikTok to share the very special way the young women honored their stepmom for Mother's Day.
In the short clip, you can see Becky flanked by the two girls, flipping through a book. On the video are the words "After 12 years… we finally asked our step-mom to adopt us." As Becky goes through the pages, you can see her becoming increasingly more emotional before she gets to the last page. By then, all three of the women are crying.
"Really?" Becky asks, before putting her head down on the table in tears. "Is that a yes?" the girls ask before embracing her. It's so touching, you can't help but feel moved by it.
@gabbyruvolo after 12 years of love, our biggest dream came true ❤️🥰 @beckyruv18 @juliannaruvolo #mothersday #adpotion #fyp ♬ Yellow - Coldplay
Pete, the girls' father, is the one filming the entire thing, and while you can't see him, you can guess his heart is swelling with love and pride as much as ours are while watching it.
"I was so caught off guard," Becky Ruvolo told Good Morning America. "When I read that, it was just pure shock and an honor and the emotions of just like, 'Is this really happening?'"
And it was really happening. If you ask the sisters, it was always a matter of "when" and not "if" they would ask Becky to officially be their mom. She met them when they were 8 years old and, as they all tell it, the connection was instantaneous.
"We met as friends and then she became mom and it was just, from the start, it was like love at first sight," Gabriella Ruvolo told Good Morning America.
When Becky married Pete in 2013, she made sure the girls knew just how important they were to her by including them in the ceremony. In the 12 years she's been in their lives, the twins have always thought of her as the strongest mother figure they have.
"We were already calling her mom because it felt so natural," Gabriella said.
"We always went to her as we would a mom. She was always there for us," Julianna added.
It's really wonderful to see these two young women not only acknowledge the role their stepmom plays in their lives, but find a way to honor all the love and care she has put into them and their family.
"We figured like, what's the best time to ask the biggest question we will probably ever ask? And why not make it on Mother's Day? Ask our mom to officially be our mother on the day dedicated to her," Julianna told GMA.
And what about their dad? Well, he couldn't be happier, which is why he filmed the moment.
"To actually see it unfold, just filled me with such a feeling of pride, proud for my girls and for my wife. I know how happy that would make her and it really was such a special moment," he said. He also added that the relationship between the girls and Becky "worked out better than I could have ever dreamed of."
Based on how people reacted to the TikTok, it seems that stories like the Ruvolos' are starting to reshape the narrative around blended families and the stereotypes about stepmoms.
"As a step mom to a daughter who never had a relationship with her bio mom …this put me on my knees," one user wrote.
"My step mom adopted me and my brother may 14th 2018. so happy for you guys!" wrote another.