VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — It was a family reunion months in the making — and we never get tired of seeing these.
A military mom made it home just in time to pick her kids up from school on Friday.
At Pembroke Elementary in Virginia Beach, a top-secret surprise was in the works, courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
“I was like, ‘Oh I want to surprise my kids, ’cause this is actually my first time at being deployed for them,'” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Sara Oxendine.
Oxendine is home from deployment from Djibouti, Africa, and hasn’t seen 8-year-old Evelyn and 5-year-old Ry in about seven months.
“It’s been about 232 days, according to my husband,” Oxendine said.
Either way, it’s been a long and sometimes difficult time.
“During the time I was gone, I missed all the holidays, I missed two birthdays. I barely came in time for my daughter’s birthday, so it was difficult. Especially being my first time,” she said.
As the children filed into the Pembroke Elementary cafeteria on Friday, Evelyn and Ry chatted with friends while Oxendine waited patiently.
“I can’t even begin to explain it in words, I know I’m nervous at the same time, ’cause I kind of [am] making a big deal about it for them,” she said.
But to two elementary school children, it truly was a big deal.
Oxendine was moved to tears, as was her daughter. Cheers erupted from the lunchroom as well as Oxendine and her family left to finally spend some quality time together.