Alexandria, Va. (WUSA9)--"I am just ready to see my kids, this has been harder on them than me," says Tina Simpson pacing in the locker room moments before the start of her daughter's basketball game.
It is weeknight high school basketball game at Thomas Edison High School in northern Virginia, and like most parents who are about to watch their kid play a game, Tina Simpson is a nervous wreck.
"I'm hoping she doesn't pass out," says Simpson smiling and laughing.
Oh how she's longed for this night.
"May 16th was the last time I saw my kids," says Simpson.
Simpson, a Sergeant First Class in the United States Army deployed to Afghanistan nearly nine months ago and was not scheduled to return until April 2014. That meant she would miss most of her daughter's senior year, one of the most important of a young student-athlete's life.
"It was horrible, they cried and cried and I cried," said Simpson. "My grand baby was only about 14 months at the time so she didn't know what was going on."
In other words it was gut wrenching. But by a stroke of army luck, Simpson returned home early and planned to surprise her daughter (Jessica Harris) at one of her games. She contacted WUSA-9 Sports to help. The heartwarming reunion can be seen in the attached video.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
"This was so special," says Thomas Edison Head Coach Dianne Lewis. "She kept saying I can't wait for my mom to get home just to be able to surprise her is just awesome."