A video of a wedding officiant using sign language for a deaf flower girl has the internet reaching for happy-tear tissues.
“I was a bridesmaid and I started sobbing so hard when I realized he wasn’t just moving his hands — he was signing the word 'family,'" Pacala, 34, told TODAY Parents.
In a now-viral instagram post, Pacala shared that officiant Randy Latini, who is married to the bride's sister, “didn’t make it a big deal.”
“He didn’t tell anyone. But it was a big deal to us,” Pacala wrote. “It signifies that the two families that joined on this day recognize that they have a Deaf family member, and they’ll make an effort to include, love and support her.”
"I mean, she is pretty cute, how could you not love and support her amiright?! Pacala added.
Latini told TODAY he reached out to a teacher of the deaf at the school where he works.
"I sent her what I wanted to say and she sent me a video showing to sign those phrases," he said. "After that, I just had to practice!"
Riley, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, was born deaf.
“She didn’t pass the newborn hearing screening at the hospital. Then a couple weeks later, we followed up with a pediatric audiologist,” Pacala revealed.
Pacala said the diagnosis caught her and her husband, Andrew, off guard.
“It wasn’t something that we were expecting or even prepared for,” she explained. “At first we were scared. How will we ever be able to communicate with her? So we both kind of dove into just researching.”
In their research, the Pacalas learned that sign language is the only 100% accessible language for deaf people. Both parents picked it up right away. And Latini clearly also has a knack for ASL.
Though Riley is too young to fully understand Latini's sweet gesture, it meant the world to Pacalas.
"It was Randy's way of saying, 'Riley is a member of our family and she uses sign language to communicate, so we will too,'" Pacala said. "He was sending a message about inclusivity."