A first-grade teacher in Texas got the sweetest surprise after her military mom showed up while she was teaching a class.
Samantha Norris works at Harmony School of Innovation, a charter elementary school in Austin. She was in the classroom with her students when a surprise visitor stopped by—her mother, U.S. Army Sgt. Tamie Norris, who had spent the past 11 months deployed in Jordan and Iraq.
Their tear-jerking reunion was caught on camera in a video that Samantha shared on Instagram.
“11 months too long without giving my mom a hug, the best surprise, welcome home!!!” she wrote in the post’s caption.
In the clip, Tamie walks into Samantha’s classroom as she was telling the kids to pack up their backpacks.
Upon seeing her mom, the teacher quickly pulled down her face mask, revealing the look of utter shock on her face.
“It was the last thing I had expected to come,” Samantha said. “I watched the video a couple of times, and everyone thinks it’s so funny that I pulled my mask down so fast, but I think it was just, ‘oh my God, this is happening,’ and I had to show her I was so excited too.”
Samantha said that Tamie has always enjoyed surprises. As a teacher, she had to keep calm and collected during the moment, but all she really wanted to do was jump for joy because she missed her mom so much.
“In that moment it was like there was nobody else in the room,” she said.
The last time Samantha saw her mom was when she graduated and celebrated her birthday, so this reunion was a long-awaited one. Tamie went back to serving in the military after raising her and her brother.
While mom was deployed, Samantha started her first teaching job at the school.
“We had always talked about decorating my first classroom together, but now she finally got to see it,” Samantha said.
The young learners also witnessed the beautiful moment firsthand, and they were all excited.
At the beginning of the year, Samantha talked to them about the Pledge of Allegiance and why people recite it. She’s been really open with the kids about her life and has told them about her mom being in the Army.
“My kids were thrilled once they understood what was happening, of course. They have always been so curious about her, so getting to meet her and try on her gear was quite the experience!” Samantha explained.
Tamie not only visited her daughter but spent some time with the kids. She brought along doughnuts, answered their numerous questions, and let them try on her Army gear. She also read a book with them.
“I think seeing a strong woman in the military was a great girl-power moment,” Samantha said. “I even had one girl student say she wants to be ‘just like Ms. Norris’ mom’ when she grows up!”
The reunion was made possible with the help of the school itself. John Boyd, Harmony Public Schools’ chief communications and marketing officer, was glad to help the soldier make it happen.
“Harmony School of Innovation-Austin was extremely excited to play its little part in this once-in-a-lifetime surprise, and is so proud to have Tamie as a part of our extended Harmony family,” he said.
Tamie will be home in Dallas for the summer before she is deployed again in the fall. For now, Samantha is making the most out of their time together.
“It was just a moment I’ve been wanting for the past year,” she said.
See their sweet reunion in the video below.
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