Today was Campbell McAlmont's 4th birthday. Her pre-school classroom's elaborate plans to celebrate included balloons, cupcakes, presents, the works. But the young girl's biggest wish was to see and touch her mother who was overseas in the service.
Well, at least that's what she thought.
Campbell's mother, Army Captain Arlinda Adderley-McAlmont, suddenly appeared at the school, surprising her daughter.
She came home from Kuwait overnight and the surprise was withheld until this afternoon.
"My mommy was in Kuwait and I had to wait for her to come back," Campbell said. "I love my mommy, I love her too much."
"She's talking more. She's gotten taller, she's writing her name down. All of that is really exciting," Arlinda said.
Father and husband Kennard is retired from the military and understands and respects the call to duty. With the help of his mother-in-law, Campbell's doing OK.
"She's kind of a spoiled kid. When she doesn't get she wants, [she says] 'I want my mommy.' That's the hardest part for me," Kennard said.
"We handle it pretty well. We have great technology as far as Skype, Internet, of course, phones, so we keep in touch daily," Arlinda said.
This family is reunited for only two weeks, that's when the captain's leave is over and she'll return to her command post in Kuwait for at least another full year of deployment.
Captain Adderley-McAlmont did a 1-year tour in Iraq 7 years ago. Soon she will be gone again, but after 16 years, she still has no plans to leave the army.