A mom and Navy reservist surprised her two kids at Flour Bluff Intermediate School in Corpus Christi on Monday morning.
Master-at-Arms Chief Petty Officer Select K. Lindsey Shinn-Tijerina had been deployed for nearly a year, and her children had no idea she was coming home.
Liam Eaves, a seventh-grader at Flour Bluff Junior High, and his sister, Lyla Eaves, a 6th-grade at Flour Bluff Intermediate, thought they were meeting with school military counselors during a book fair at the Intermediate school library.
Instead, they were stunned to see their mom walk through the door. There were plenty of tears and hugs when Liam and Lyla recognized her and ran to greet her.
Shinn-Tijerina exclaimed, “You’re so tall!” upon seeing her daughter, who appeared to have a noticeable height advantage over her mom. “You were shorter than me when I left!”
Lyla’s classmates and school staff were on hand to witness the happy reunion, prompting some apparent embarrassment from Lyla, who ducked behind her mother, exclaiming, “Everyone is watching me!”
Liam acknowledged that the unexpected reunion caught him off guard. “It was surprising. I didn’t know anything about it,” he said.
Shinn-Tijerina had been deployed overseas at Camp Lemonnier Djibouti-Horn in East Africa for Operation Aqea Al Qaeda for the past 10 months. The family attempted to keep in touch through FaceTime, but spotty internet connections and a nine-hour time difference often made it difficult.
Shinn-Tijerina said she is glad to be back home in time to celebrate the children’s November birthdays and the upcoming holidays with them.
She previously served 15 years of active duty in the Navy and has been a reservist for the past five years at NAS Corpus Christi.
Many families in the Flour Bluff ISD have military connections. Four schools in the district, including Flour Bluff Intermediate, were recently designated as Purple Star Campuses for meeting the needs of military families by offering counseling and other resources.