I Double Dog Dare You Not to Reach For a Kleenex...
Dahlia Jimenez and her little sister, Emma, got a paralyzing surprise today when their scheduled school assembly turned into a family homecoming. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mario Jimenez had returned from Afghanistan unbeknownst to the girls, and was hiding behind the stage curtain when they were called to the stage.
"Dahlia was one of a few students called to the front of the cafeteria to speak about having a military family member during an assembly of about 180 first- and fifth-graders. Emma, 6, was too shy to go on stage with her sister, but ran forward within seconds to hug her father after he appeared from behind a curtain." (From The Detroit News)
The Detroit News photo gallery that coincides with this heartwarming story is enough to make you have to step away from your desk and find a tissue. The absolute joy and relief on the faces of Mario's daughter's is enough to shatter even the sturdiest stoicism of any parent. The possibility loomed large that they might never hug their father again, until today when he stepped out from behind the stage curtain and gave them a tearful opportunity to do just that. Tonight there are two girls who, I'm guessing, had a difficult time allowing the lights to be switched off, and their bedroom doors closed. Daddy's home, and I'd bet everything I owned that they'll never let him out of their sight again.