Teen Surprises Big Sister with Symbolic Red Rose at Graduation Ceremony

This story is most definitely siblings goals!

Virginia mom Nicole Sullivan recently captured a moment on her camera that she’ll never forget. The single mother of two was at her youngest son Casey’s high school graduation when she saw him do something that completely melted her heart.

Sullivan took to the Facebook page Grown and Flown Parents to share the precious experience.

“At [Casey’s] high school, the graduates are given a rose during the ceremony to pass along to the person who has always been there for them; the person who has loved them and supported them unconditionally,” she wrote.

Most teens traditionally give the rose to their parents — something Casey had been thoughtfully considering. But when it came time to choose, he told his mom he wanted to give it to his big sister Raegan.

“I’m a single mom and our little family of three is my world,” she wrote in her post. “I can’t even begin to express how much it means to me that my son did this for my daughter.”

Casey approached his mom a week prior to ask for her thoughts. When he told her he wanted to give the rose to Raegan and explained the reasons why, Sullivan’s eyes welled up with happy tears.

“I told him I felt that was perfect!” she tells Babble. “This meant so much more to me. I figured she would expect him to give it to me, as she had done, but honestly, she really deserved it.”

When they all met up outside of the school post graduation, Casey took his moment. And when he handed the rose to his big sister, Sullivan was not prepared for the look of total surprise that immediately spread across her child’s face.

Image Source: Nicole Sullivan

“I think my heart burst wide open with love and pride for this sweet young man!” she says. “[Raegan] was truly shocked — she looked at the rose, she looked at me, looked back at the rose, and then hugged him. And even Raegan, the stoic one in the family, got a little teary-eyed and we all hugged.”

For Raegan, the gift signified not only how much she’d been there for Casey over the years, but that her love and support left him changed for the better. And Sullivan is quick to share that her two kiddos have been BFFs for as long as she can remember.

“They have always relied on and supported each other,” she shares with Babble. “They rarely bickered as little kids often do. When that finally kicked in, I didn’t know what to do with them, since I wasn’t used to it!”

Casey and Raegan’s unshakable bond also helped them survive one of life’s biggest challenges — the painful divorce of their parents when they were in elementary school.

“I left their dad when they were 5 and 7 and had a really tough time mentally and physically,” she explains. “We had joint custody, but the kids were with me a majority of the time. I struggled to be a good mom during that time, but it was really hard. Luckily, they had each other.”

Image Source: Nicole Sullivan

From learning just a little bit about Sullivan, it’s easy to see that she’s definitely achieved “supermom” status in the raising of her two awesome kids. Her parenting has occasionally led to some trial and error — something I think every single mom and dad can relate to. But the glue that has held her family together has been the extraordinary example of love and openness this mama has shown her children.

Image Source: Nicole Sullivan

Whether they succeed in the best of ways or make the most regrettable of mistakes, she has loved them through it all.

“I have an amazing relationship with my kids, and I am so very grateful for them,” she tells Babble. “They have always respected me as their mom, but [have] also been able to come to me as a friend too. And I respect them too. Just because they are young doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice. Mutual respect has gone a long way in our house.”

It’s clear to see that Sullivan is a huge reason why her kiddos have grown into such amazing young adults. And no matter how large her contribution has been, she responds to it all with endless humility.

“People keep commenting on my post that I did a good job raising these two,” she shares. “But I have to say, I am blessed that they have always been close. I don’t think I did anything special — I just got really lucky with them.”

I think it’s safe to say that Casey and Raegan got really lucky too.

This story especially warms my heart, because I have a little brother and sister who I also consider to be two of my dearest friends. Much like Sullivan’s kids, we’ve weathered the storms of parental divorce together, and yet we’ve remained tremendously close after so much heartbreak. It’s been amazing to go through life knowing that no matter how crazy it all gets, my brother and sister will always have my back.

Now that I’m pregnant with my second child, I’m feeling so grateful to be able to give my daughter that same kind of assurance with her future brother — and if I ever need a reminder of how to nurture a lifelong friendship between them, I’ll be sure to recall this mom’s heartwarming example.

Congratulations to the Sullivan family!

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