PORT ARTHUR — Embedded:
She graciously answered questions from reporters and smiled as little kids filed in for lunch.
But when the person she was there to surprise finally walked into the room, Cain jumped from her chair and lifted her daughter into her arms.
Cain had been away from her six-year-old daughter, Leah Jackson, for eight months while deployed overseas in Afghanistan. She said she tried to Skype with her daughter and send letters, but nothing compares to being able to hold her again.
“To come back is just a matter of having patience,” Cain said. “Flights can get canceled and there are delays. Coming back is easy. Leaving is the hard part.”
The mother and daughter held each other for several minutes before Jackson jumped in line to get her lunch, taking mommy’s camouflage hat with her.
Cain had been back in the United States less than two days, and it took a 39 hour trip to get to her daughter. Cain’s mother, Debora Eddie, is a custodian at Travis Elementary and helped orchestrate the surprise.
Eddie said that even though her granddaughter did not know what surprise was in store, she was still restless the night before.
“She woke up a 4 a.m.,” Eddie said. “I think she felt something.”
Cain does not know if she will be redeployed in the future but hopes she is home for good.
“It’s a great feeling,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about incomings and attacks. It’s a big weight of your shoulders.”
Watch a video of the reunion at panews.com or on The News’ Facebook page.