When This Girl Saw A Woman In Uniform Across The Room, She Couldn’t Help But Burst Into Tears

An elementary schooler’s schedule is the same day in and day out. From subjects to specials, from lunchtime to recess, every hour is mapped out by their teachers. But one day something special happened for third-grader Christina Zamora during her lunchtime – and the unexpected moment caused her to burst into tears.

Zamora, who was a third-grader as of May 2018, attended Cottonwood Creek Elementary School in Hutto, Texas. On the 22nd of that month, she and her classmates headed into their lunch hour ready to eat and recharge.

As Zamora enjoyed her midday meal, lunch took an irregular turn. Her school’s head teacher took to the stage inside of the cafeteria, grabbed a microphone and made a very special presentation to the elementary schoolers.

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She welcomed Chief Petty Officer Marqueta Grant, who had spent 22 years of her life serving the country with the U.S. Navy. She told TV news network Fox 7 that she greatly enjoyed her job. “It teaches life lessons people don’t normally get,” Grant said.

The U.S. Navy has both domestic and international posts. On the home front, sailors monitor the seas around the country to ensure citizens are safe. Abroad, Navy ships protect or work in support of allies in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as in the Arabian Gulf.

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Grant’s most recent deployment had taken her away from her home in Hutto, as well as from her family. And, as she told the local news station, the only job she loved more than being a naval officer was being a mom.

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However, routine deployments were all part of the job she signed up for. “It’s hard to be away from the family, but I know what I’m doing serves a purpose,” she said. This time, she was supposed to have returned on May 23, but she arrived home in Texas a day early.

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So, she stopped by Cottonwood Creek Elementary School that day after making her way home. Her family would undoubtedly be surprised to find out she was back on home soil sooner than expected.

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But no one was more shocked than Zamora, who instantly recognized the naval officer making her way across the elementary school stage. “When she came out of the curtains, I didn’t know what to do,” she said.

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“I was like, ‘What?’” the third grader recalled. Then, she said, “I just started running.” She bolted from one end of the cafeteria, her arms in the air. Then, she wrapped them around Grant and began to cry.

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That’s because Grant is Zamora’s mother. The little girl had no idea that she’d be back from her deployment that day, let alone that she’d be there at her school to surprise Zamora during her lunch period.

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Her mom, however, said she’d had a good idea of what Zamora’s reaction would be. “I know my baby so well… I just knew she would cry, and the arms would fly up. I anticipated it,” Grant said after their poignant reunion.

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The whole school watched and cheered as they hugged. Then, the rest of Grant’s family appeared – her husband, her younger daughter and a son, all of whom looked elated to see their matriarch back in Texas.

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For Zamora, seeing her mom was a huge relief. The third-grader said her deployments often felt endless. “I feel like she’s never coming home, and it’s really emotional to think about her not coming home,” she admitted, breaking down in tears.

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Her mother and other members of the Navy do, indeed, spend long stretches away from home. Deployments typically last for at least six months, but sometimes longer. Officers are sent to ports or bases around the globe, or they spend their deployments at sea.

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To get through her time away, Grant kept her husband and children in mind at all times. “The whole time you’re out there, you always think, ‘I have to do my best because I have to get home to my family,’” she said.

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Soon, though, Grant’s time overseas will be at an end. She came home on May 22, 2018, and she had two weeks to spend with the family she loved so much. Then, she was due to head out for her last posting abroad.

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After that, though, Grant’s life will be permanently based on land. She will return home in August of 2018, marking the end of her decades-long service on the waves. Although grateful for her service, Grant’s family will surely be glad to have her back.

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And, even though her mom will soon be home with her all the time, Zamora will carry with her the lessons she’s learned as a daughter of a naval officer. Through the years, her mom taught her how to handle the sadness that came with their time apart.

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“She told me to be brave sometimes when she’s overseas and to think about something else instead of crying,” the third-grader said. It’s easy to imagine Zamora’s tears will be happy ones when she has her mom home permanently, just a few months after their surprise reunion.

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