Ja'Mell Jones' eyes lit up in his classroom Friday when he saw his soldier mother for the first time since Thanksgiving.
"Mommy!" shouted Ja'Mell Jones as he ran toward Army Sgt. Shenasiah Lowe in his Long Island classroom during the surprise reunion Friday.
Ja'Mell's 4-year-old sister was there, too, and she also ran to her mother. The two kids hugged her tightly, refusing to let go.
"Seeing how the daughter clung to her shoulder, as a mom, it just -- I'm probably just going to cry again, it was a touching moment," said East Elementary School principal Kathleen Connolly.
"I was so happy, I thought I was going to cry," said Ja'Mell.
Then it was Ja'Mell's turn to surprise his mother. He grabbed a pink piece of paper and, in front of the class, read her the Mother's Day card he thought he'd have to mail to Germany, where he'd lived for two years with his mother.
"Dear Mommy, this card is given to you because of all the hard work you've done. I love your cooking. It's like you are the Picasso of food. I really love that you are my really awesome mom," he read.
It was just a short visit for mom: Lowe arrived for a 10-hour layover heading back to Germany from South Carolina, where she was training. So while coming home was brief, it was really all she wanted to do. Lowe's mother Tracey Gaines, with whom the children have been staying, helped coordinate the surprise; she told News 4 that all she wanted for Mother's Day was to see her daughter with her kids, even if only for a few hours.
"I'm grateful that East School did this for me," Lowe said as she thanked everyone.
Lowe doesn't know when she'll next be back -- likely sometime between August and November.