Last night was the 8th grade graduation at Riley’s school. Riley is in 7th grade, but she really wanted to go. It was her birthday yesterday…13! And she wanted nothing more than to spend her evening seeing her 8th grade friends graduate. It was a very beautiful and emotional ceremony. Every one of the kids had faced challenges due to their learning differences. Every one of them had walked a very long and brave road to have come this far and be off to high school next year. The graduates each created a power point presentation set to music, including baby photos and photos of when they first arrived at the school(some were so tiny), and shared some of their favorite memories there. Being in a room full of special needs parents, knowing how hard they have worked to get their children to this point in their lives. Teachers were crying. Parents were crying. At one part of the ceremony, each student took a single rose and presented it to their parents. Be still my heart.

In the row in front of us, left to right, there was what appeared to be a mom, a ten year old brother, a step-mom and a dad. Mom and dad, furthest apart from each other. When their daughter approached the row with her rose, they all stood up, and the step-mom backed up ever so slightly, allowing the mom to get in there. She was respectful that this was the other woman’s daughter, and bowed out for the moment. And the mom and dad hugged their child, who had come so very, very far.

And then, not two seconds into the hug, the mom turned and reached out her arm and pulled the step-mom into the circle, and they all embraced.

And then the girl was off and back to the group of graduates at the front, and the row in front of me sat down, and the mom held her long stemmed rose. And she smiled and inhaled it.

And then, she reached across little brother, and offered it to step-mom’s nose, and she too inhaled it deeply, and they just kind of acknowledged each other again with their eyes, and then the moment was over and it was on with the ceremony.

The whole transaction was between the two women. The dad was kind of oblivious to it, his eyes focused on his daughter, up front.

Love for a child.

It’s a powerful thing.

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12 Responses to Witness

  1. Heather says:

    What a blessing to witness these moments of pure love…thanks for sharing it.

  2. Brenda Riesen says:

    Warm Fuzziness!! Sounds like a lovely evening!

  3. Laurel says:

    WOW! Thanks for the teary eyes first thing this a.m.:)

  4. Meg says:

    You witnessed true grace in action. What a beautiful evening.

  5. rhemashope says:

    Love this.
    And Happy Happy Birthday to sweet Riley!!!

  6. elena says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve got tears in my eyes. I just separated and my husbad is living with another woman. I hope that one day the love I have for my children will make such a miracle, but at the moment I just can’t forgive and this makes me feel so bad and guilty.
    Happy birthday to your wonderful daughter!

  7. Kim says:

    brought me to tears. Happy birthday to Riley!!

  8. How beautifully you’ve told it — thank you.

  9. *m* says:


    Happy birthday to your sweet girl!

  10. Tanya Savko says:

    What a beautiful exchange to witness. And wishing Riley a belated birthday – I can’t believe she’s 13! Love to all of you.

  11. kario says:

    So lovely! Our school’s 8th grade graduation ceremony is tomorrow night and I am prepared to bawl my eyes out. I love that Riley witnessed this and wanted to be a part of it. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Carrie Link says:

    What Meg said, grace. Beautiful. So glad you bore witness.


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