Serena Gonzalez would do anything to give her little girl a good life – even if that means being separated by thousands of miles.
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The military mom from Pennsylvania is a Machinist’s mate in the Navy who’s currently based in San Diego, California. Her sweet uncle, Billy Cruz, takes care of her 3-year-old daughter, Ariella, back at home on the east coast. And Serena misses her every day.
While she’d love to be with her daughter, Serena is away serving for her. You see, Serena reenlisted for six years so she could give Ariella her post 9/11 bill, which pays for veterans’ education expenses and can be transferred to a child after they’ve reached 10 years of service. She’s giving Ariella the gift of being able to attend any college she wants in the future.
That said, not seeing her daughter for extended periods of time has been difficult, to say the least. So in March, Billy decided to fly across the country with Ariella and give Serena an unforgettable surprise.
Upon arriving in San Diego, Billy and Ariella went to Serena’s friend’s place, where she had stayed the night. She was sleeping on the floor, as her friend was in the process of moving. The friend recorded as Ariella stood in front of her mom and Billy gently woke her up.
At first, we see a sleepy Serena open her eyes to what she clearly thinks is just a dream. Then, in an instant, she snaps fully awake and shrieks, completely overcome by the sight of her daughter’s face.
It had been so long since she’d been able to hold her baby girl. Serena couldn’t help but break down as she wrapped her arms around Ariella, shedding tears of pure joy.
Serena shared the touching footage on Facebook that day with a heartfelt message of love:
“I got the best surprise of my life this morning. My child. To be able to hold her. And feel her arms around me again. To see her smile again in person. The greatest love I’ve ever know is from my boogie woogie. I am blessed infinitely with her life everyday.”
It would probably be impossible to describe just how much this unannounced visit meant to Serena, who’s spent so many days and nights without her little girl. Billy is a saint for planning this trip so a mother and daughter could share some much-needed time together.
Watch as Serena freaks out in the best way in the video below, and share to spread thanks for her service as well as her sacrifice.
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