It all started on 17 September when Noah James, a 28-year-old non-binary person from Omaha, posted on TikTok that his mother will not be attending his wedding in 2023 because she will be “out of the country,” and called on TikTok’s “mom friends” community to spread some love his way.
“I asked my mom if she wanted to be invited to my wedding next year,” he began the TikTok video. “She said she wasn’t sure, but that the ‘issue’ was solved anyway, as she’ll be out of the country the day I get married. She’d move mountains for everyone but me, the black sheep. The gay disgrace. I feel unloved, unwanted. I feel so sad. All I wanted was her love and support. It’s the one thing I’ll never get.”
Noah added: “My wedding will still be amazing. My fiancée stands beside me through it all. But part of me will always wish my mom loved me as I am.”
That’s when Rosie, also known as @north_omaha_cat_lady to her three million TikTok followers, chimed in. Rosie stitched Noah’s TikTok video on 30 October, asking “where and when” the wedding was taking place.
“If your family is not supportive of you, find a new family. I will stand in for your mother if you don’t mind having an old fat mother in a muumuu at your wedding,” the 56-year-old Ohama native said. “I will pay for the plane ticket, I will pay for my lodging and everything, I will walk you down the aisle.”
The video has since been viewed 3.6m times.
On 13 November, Rosie revealed that she had been in touch with Noah since posting her response, and the two were about to meet up for some ramen noodles. In the follow-up video, she explained that they had decided she would stand-in for Noah as his mother, although she felt “really nervous” to meet the groom-to-be.
After their dinner date, Rosie took to TikTok to reveal how the meet-up went down.
“I have a son!” she said, smiling. “I have a handsome son named Noah who is getting married to the most wonderful person ever named Bat and I could not be happier. Noah, this mama is always going to be there for you. I’m proud of you and I’ll be there at your wedding.”
Now, in a recent joint interview, Noah and Rosie spoke to Insider about the serendipitous exchange and how they were able to form a lasting connection all through TikTok. The 28-year-old revealed how Rosie exhibited “fierce mama bear” energy when they first met for dinner, which felt "empowering” for Noah.
“Having a mom figure love on my fiancé means a lot,” he told the outlet. “That’s something that’s been hard with my family – you meet your person and you want people to love your person.”
While some members of Noah’s family – a couple of his five siblings, some cousins, aunts, and uncles, and his grandmother – will be attending the September 2023 wedding, he said there will still be a small part of him that wishes his biological mother could be there.
“But I know that that’s not realistic,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rosie explained how finding a family of accepting “TikTok moms” can almost be better than the real thing. “I’m not a mom. I don’t have any kids. I’ve never been married. And so it’s like, you know, fine. He’s mine now,” she said. “You can’t help who you were born to. I always say: ‘found family can be better.’”
The Independent has contacted Noah James and Rosie for comment.