I remember my high school graduation—the excitement of new experiences ahead, the sadness of saying goodbye to kids I’d known for 18 years, and, of course, the endless picture-taking. Pictures with my sister, pictures with my parents, pictures with my grandparents, and pictures with friends. My face hurt from smiling, but we kept clicking away, as graduation photos are time-honored treasures. And on June 1, a graduate from Chino Hills High School in Ontario, California had a particularly unique idea for hers. 

Senior Madeleine Tarin actually attended her first graduation when she was a mere toddler—only it was her mom’s. She has spent her life looking at a photograph from that day when her own mother Jacqueline graduated high school. In the picture, alongside Jacqueline, was Madeleine’s father Dario, carrying tiny Madeleine on his shoulders. 

Jacqueline learned she was pregnant at 15 years old, and it was then that she and Madeleine’s father Dario decided to raise their child and finish high school. They eventually married and had two more children, giving Madeleine what she calls “a great life.” And to show her love and appreciation, she thought she’d stage a fun family graduation photo in their honor.

Captioned “yeah that’s right, we made it TOGETHER” the image from Madeleine’s graduation is a mirror to her mom’s of 17 years ago. Madeleine even sat on her dad’s shoulders and says, “I’m glad my dad is such a strong guy or else this picture wouldn’t be possible!” Madeleine knows that raising a baby as teenagers was no easy road. She says, “My parents were judged a lot during this time but stayed strong together. They both lived with their parents but were raising me together. They were determined to make it and provide me with a future. My dad worked full time in construction and my mom was still playing soccer.”

In fact, Madeleine is so proud of her family’s accomplishments that she wrote about her parents’ story for her college admission essay—an essay that helped earn her acceptance as well as soccer and academic scholarships into Rider University in New Jersey. She will play Division 1 soccer and she plans to study health sciences with the goal of becoming an occupational therapist.

It’s clear that Madeleine is proud of and grateful for the life her parents committed to providing her, when they were still kids themselves. “My relationship with [them] is awesome, they’re my best friends. I couldn’t ask for a better loving, supportive family than the ones God gave me,” Madeleine says. And we are pretty sure her parents are just as proud of the amazing girl they’ve raised, with values of love and commitment and perseverance in the face of adversity. Good luck at college, Madeleine, and thanks for sharing your family’s inspiring story!

Feature image via Twitter

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is a freelance writer who is known on social media as The 21st Century SAHM. She is an assistant editor at Sammiches and Psych Meds, staff writer and social media manager for Scary Mommy, and is the author of I Brushed My Hair Today, A Mom Journal for Mostly Together Moms. Follow Karen on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/21stcenturysahm/, Twitter https://twitter.com/21stcenturysahm , and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/the21stcenturysahm/