A first-grade teacher in Texas received the sweetest surprise when her military mother arrived while she was teaching.
Samantha Norris is a teacher at Harmony School of Innovation, an Austin charter primary school. She was in the classroom with her children when a surprise guest arrived: her mother, US Army Sgt. Tamie Norris, who had been deployed in Jordan and Iraq for the previous 11 months.
Samantha documented their emotional reunion in a video she posted on Instagram.
“11 months too long without hugging my mum, the best surprise, welcome home!!!” she said in the caption of the post.
Tamie enters Samantha’s classroom as she instructs the students to pack 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 expected to see,” Samantha explained. “I watched the video a few times, and everyone thinks it’s hilarious that I pulled my mask down so quickly, but I think it was simply, ‘Oh my God, this is happening,’ and I had to show her I was just as pleased.”
Tamie, according to Samantha, has always appreciated surprises. She had to be calm and controlled as a teacher, but all she actually wanted to do was jump for excitement since she missed her mother so much.
“It seemed as if there was no one else in the room at the time,” she claimed.
Samantha hadn’t seen her mother since she graduated and celebrated her birthday, so this reunion was long overdue. Tamie rejoined the military after raising her and her brother.
Samantha began her first teaching position at the school while her mother was deployed.
“We had always talked about decorating my first classroom together, and now she gets to see it,” Samantha explained.
The little students observed the amazing moment firsthand and were all ecstatic.
Samantha explained the Pledge of Allegiance and why people say it to them at the start of the year. She’s been quite upfront with the kids about her life, including the fact that her mother is in the Army.
“Of course, my kids were overjoyed once they realized what was going on.” They’ve always been fascinated by her, so getting to meet her and try on her gear was a thrilling experience!” Samantha elaborated.
Tamie not only paid a visit to her daughter, but also spent time with the children. She brought doughnuts, answered all of their inquiries, and let them try on her Army uniform. She also read a book beside them.
“Seeing a strong woman in the military was a terrific girl-power moment for me,” Samantha remarked. “I even had one female kid tell me she aspires to be ‘exactly like Ms. Norris’ mother’ 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.