Grab a box of tissues…
I first met Johnele in the Fall during an extended family shoot with her husbands family. Anthony was deployed at the time so it was just Johnele and the 4 kids along with other 8 or so other members of their family. We chatted briefly about doing her immediate family photos when her husband returned to the states. About a month ago, she called me and said her husband was coming home and she wanted me to document it. More importantly, she wanted me to get the kids reactions to seeing their dad for the first time in over 9 months. Yes!! Let’s do it!!
Fast forward, a couple of weeks. I get a call from Anthony (who I have never met or talked to). He says he’s back in the states and he had talked to his wife about the photo shoot she wanted but… he wanted to flip the script a little and come home early to surprise not only the kids, but Johnele as well. OH MY GOODNESS, YES!
So we plot and plan. We come up with an idea to lure Johnele into meeting me at the softball fields to scout a location for our planned shoot. She agrees to meet me but decides to leave the kids in the car while we talk so they don’t overhear our plan. YIKES! How do I get these kids out? So I pry a little and convince her that I need to do a few test shots just to check lighting. She peeks in and decides only getting 2 of the kiddos out is going to be possible since the youngest is asleep. Okay, bump in the road, but I have to roll with it.
We walk up to the field and little did they know that Anthony was hiding out around the corner. I give him the signal and he comes out. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of smiles, hugs, and pure joy. We go grab the other 2 kids (bare feet and all) to replay the surprise all over again for them. Ya’ll, I forgot to wear waterproof mascara. Seeing this family reunited and the love between them had me bursting with emotions.
I am so honored to have been a part of this little reunion and thankful for men like Anthony who make this magnitude of a sacrifice to serve his country and fight for our freedom. Also, can we give some major husband props to him for having never met me and yet digging up my info from facebook to surprise his wife? Take notes, guys!!
Welcome home, Anthony!