Think back to when you were almost 10 years old. Now imagine that you hadn't seen your mother for nine months. What would you want most in the world for your birthday? Probably to see your mother. Riley Higa's mother, Melissa Higa, is a senior airman for the U.S. Air Force who has been deployed in South Korea for the past nine months. Riga missed her mom so much, she wrote a letter to President Obama asking for her mother to be allowed to visit her in Hawaii for her 10th birthday.
"Can you please call her boss and tell him or her to please let her off so she can come home for my birthday on Monday?" Riga wrote. "I miss and love her very much and if she can't come I'll be very very sad, love Riley Higa grade 4th." Oh man, what a heart-breaker! Well, I'm happy to say this story has a happy ending, but it's an ending filled with tears.
Riley's grandmother told her daughter about the letter, and Melissa found a way to get leave to visit Riley for her birthday. Their reunion was a surprise for Riley -- and you have to see it. But wow, it's so hard to see Riley's tears just before her mom surprises her.
"Everyone says they don't know how we do it, but I think it's the families that sacrifice more. They are the ones that have to wait," Melissa said. "You try not to think about it too much, so when my mom told me that (Riley wrote a letter), you know I wanted to make it big for her. It had to be, it had to be big."
I'm so glad Riley's mom made it home! You can see how much it meant to her daughter. When we think about the sacrifices military families make, you have to remember it's the kids who sacrifice as well. I have a son who turns 10 years old soon. I can't imagine how sad he'd be if I had to be away from him for nine months at a time.
How do you think kids cope with being away from their military parents?
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