For many of us, our holiday lists are full of material objects, from electronics and clothing, to books and gift cards. But for one Gainesville mother, she had just one thing on her list: Her daughter.
Much to her surprise, that wish finally came true, due to a surprise homecoming on Thursday morning.
The morning began as a routine day for Teresa Reynolds. She was working on some paperwork at the central office of the Tyler G. Elementary School where she works, when somebody walked in. It was her daughter, Anna, who had been deployed as a Marine in Okinawa for more than a year.
"Hey mom," she said with a laugh.
Immediately Reynolds put her hands to her face, and started crying. The two embraced, and for 30 seconds, she was completely speechless.
"Oh my God," she finally said in a whisper. "Oh my God."
The homecoming was all part of a secret plan, more than a year in the making. Last Christmas, Anna told her sister Laura that the two should surprise the rest of the family. Laura then contacted the school principal, who helped plan the homecoming.
When the two finally reunited, Teresa was overwhelmed by the site of her daughter.
"It's hard to put into words," she said with emotion in her voice. "This is the thing I most wanted was to see her again, because it's been so long."
The waterworks didn't end there. Anna then surprised her dad at a lunch in the district. She will be in the United States for 20 days, before returning to Japan.