A high school freshman jumped into her mother’s arms after a military deployment separated the pair for nine months.
"It’s been so long," said Kyesia Johnson of Alexandria Senior High School told KALB. "I just feel like a weight lifted off my shoulder because my mama is home."
Johnson was in gym class Monday when her mother, Staff Sgt. Jessica Brooks, strolled in through the doors of the gymnasium.
When Johnson spotted her mom, she immediately leaped into her arms.
"It was as good as I'd hoped," Brooks said of her daughter’s reaction. “She is growing on me so she is kind of heavy, but we made it happen."
Johnson was too young to remember the first time Brooks was deployed, but this time around, it was far more difficult for the family as Johnson was preparing for high school just as Brooks was preparing to go to Kuwait with the Louisiana National Guard.
"I missed the first day of high school; I missed cheerleading competitions; I missed drivers ed; I missed a lot of events," she said. "It's been really hard."
Her daughter agreed, adding, "She’s like my other half. I missed my other half."
Johnson, who has been serving for 14 years, is now preparing to plan a wedding with her fiancé, who was also deployed in Kuwait.
“My family, we're all pretty much in the military,” Johnson said. “Everybody has been strong and they have been getting me through it, and they definitely have been getting [my daughter] through it."