"I swear they must have known each other in a past life," says mom Semira Luciani
At 6 months old, Elia Luciani usually gives a small smirk when meeting someone new. But the baby had a larger-than-life reaction last week when she met her 104-year-old great-grandmother, Tina Rose, for the first time.
Semira Luciani, 35, and her 39-year-old husband Justin Luciani, of New Jersey, headed to Battle Creek, Michigan, last week with Elia, their first child, to introduce the baby to her great-grandmother. Semira tells PEOPLE that she was excited for the pair to meet, but never imagined Elia would react the way she did.
“Right when [Elia] saw [Rose] she started laughing and trying to go toward my grandma, and I’d never seen her act that way in my life,” Semira says. “Elia was just cracking up and happy and trying to touch my grandma and snuggle up to her — and she doesn’t even do that to us!”
In the video taken on April 8, Elia sported a wide, toothless grin as she leaned into her great-grandmother and touched the woman’s face. Clad in pink, Elia laughed and cooed as she repeatedly reached for Rose.
“When [Elia] would be upset, she’d hold her hand and stop fussing. She’d be calm. It was very shocking. It was like they were talking to each other and knew each other from before,” Semira tells PEOPLE.
“I swear they must have known each other in a past life,” she adds. “They’re like two souls that recognize each other. It was like two friends seeing each other after a lifetime apart.”
Tina celebrated her 104th birthday just one day earlier, and Semira says she and her family were eager to get to Tina’s home to celebrate the milestone.
“At first they were staring at each other and smiling and laughing and rubbing heads. My grandma was saying how [Elia] was so strong, saying she was so beautiful,” Semira recalls. “She was just impressed by Elia’s strength and saying, ‘Oh! She’s trying to kiss me! She was so happy, she just lit up. They were very cute together.”
Semira shared the footage on Facebook, and her friends quickly commented on the video, saying, “This wins the internet!”; “This is priceless”; and “This is truly magical!”
Semira says she’s grateful Tina and Elia’s lifetimes are overlapping. Now, she hopes her grandmother and the little girl share their special bond for years to come.
“I hope they have this reaction every time they see each other,” Semira tells PEOPLE. “Our grandma is the matriarch of our family and she’s such an incredible person. I’m so glad that they bonded that instantaneously. I hope my daughter is just like my grandma.”