A little boy walks his widowed mom down the aisle on her special day and gives her a heartwarming gift. What she finds inside leaves her in tears.
11-year-old Luke really missed his dad. Andy was his best friend, partner in crime, and companion for the Friday night baseball matches. But after he died, things changed.
Luke no longer watched baseball and had never seen his mother, Claire, happy since Andy’s death. Even after two years, she would cry when she saw his pictures. Luke didn’t like it, and he wished he knew how to make his mother happy again.
Though just 11, Luke was a bright child and knew his mom went out on dates. But when she returned, she’d be depressed. Nobody could make her happy as Andy did, Luke thought.
But the truth was, Claire was not ready to let anyone else make her happy. Giving another man a place in her and Luke’s lives felt like a sin to her. How could she let go of the man she loved and welcome a new man into her life? She would never do something like that.
After placing Clarie’s hands in Mike’s, Luke pulled a box from his pocket and handed it to Claire. “Dad wanted you to open this now, mom,” he said.
“But the living have to live on, mom,” Luke told her one night. And that’s when things changed.
“Do you think you’re ready for a new dad, Luke? Mom is not pressuring you, honey,” she had said, and Luke had nodded, pursing his lips.
“If I get a new dad, mom, will you be happy? If you’re happy, I am too,” he said. “And yes, mom, Dad always used to tell me that life must go on. That’s how I understood I could be happy after Gran Molly left us. I loved her so much!”
The words: “Living have to live on” stuck to Claire, and after much contemplation, she decided to introduce her new boyfriend, Mike, to Luke. She and Mike had been dating for two months then, and she really liked him. But the thought of cheating on Andy was the only thing that had prevented her from accepting their relationship with all her heart.
Luke’s words comforted her, and she felt ready for the next step. As a result, she introduced Mike to Luke one night after dinner.
When Luke met Mike for the first time, he was super excited. Mike was exactly like Andy! He pulled out the chair for Claire as she sat at the dinner table, and he helped her clean the kitchen after they were done eating.
“Luke, would you like to have ice cream? I was wondering if chocolate would be a good choice,” he said, and Luke smiled.
“That’s mom’s favorite,” he said. “Mine too!”
“Alright then, chocolate it is! I like vanilla more, but I guess chocolate wins!” he laughed.
“Vanilla?” asked Luke, disappointed. “That’s boring! Not cool, Mike!”
“Same thoughts, actually. Gonna upgrade my favorite to chocolate now coz my two favorite people love chocolate,” he winked, and Luke smiled.
With time, Luke and Mike became really close. They’d get together for baseball games, and Mike would take Claire and him out every weekend. Oh, and he was a fantastic cook!
One Sunday afternoon, he made the best cheeseburgers and delicious barbeque, and Luke became his biggest fan.
Claire noticed that, and she noticed every other moment that Mike had made memorable for them since he had entered their life. She was happy with him, and so was Luke, so that day she proposed to him, and without hesitation, Mike said: “Yes!”
“Yay! So I get to call you dad now!” said Luke as he hugged them. “But, Mike, I hope you don’t mind, but my late dad will always be my favorite person. I loved him more than anyone else.”
“No issues, champ,” replied Mike, embracing Luke and Claire. “I don’t care if I come in first or second. I’m glad you and Claire are here with me.”
On her wedding day, when Claire stood in her bridal gown in her room, Luke was very emotional. “You know I’m going to walk you down the aisle, right, mom? I want to do this,” he told her.
Wiping his tears gently, Claire hugged him. “Of course, you can do it, honey. I’d love to see you do it,” she said.
So Luke escorted Claire down the aisle, and after placing Claire’s hands in Mike’s, he pulled a box from his pocket and handed it to Claire. “Dad wanted you to open this now, mom,” he said. “But before you open this, mom, I have to tell you something…” he began, pulling a letter from another pocket. “Dad wrote it when he was in the hospital. I’d like to read this.”
Clearing his throat, Luke began reading Andy’s letter: “Luke, I know your mom will always love me as much as I love you both. But one day, she will bring another man to our house, and that’s okay. Your mom has the right to be happy, and so do you, but you have to ensure he’s someone who cares for you and her. And if he is that man, then I already respect him. And you have to respect him too. But you must be the one who tests his attitude toward you, his genuine intentions, and who leads her down the aisle where this man will be waiting for her. You must choose the best man for your mother! Now you can open that box, mom…” he finished.
Claire was already in tears, and as she opened the box, she cried even harder. She found Andy’s wedding ring in the box and another letter from him.
“I’m sure Luke chose the best man for you. I love you and always will. Knowing you, I’m sure you’re feeling bad about moving on, and I know how to get you out of it. Please put the ring on your future husband’s ring finger. Let him always remember that you can only be the wife of a strong and true man!”
“Mike deserves it, mom,” said Luke. “I know he’ll be the best dad to me…and he’ll love you, just like dad did. Thank you for that, Mike!” he added.
Seeing Luke’s thoughtful gesture, Mike couldn’t hold back his tears. “I will never let you down, champ. I promise,” he said.
And well, he didn’t.
What can we learn from this story?
Moving on is a sign of healing; it doesn’t imply disregarding the loss of our loved ones. Claire held herself back from falling in love after Andy’s demise, but Luke’s words gave her the courage to move on, and she finally could.
A man who loves his family will not leave their side ever. Andy was no longer physically present with Claire and Luke, but his presence could be felt in the upbringing he’d provided for Luke, which helped Luke choose the best man for her mother.
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