DUMFRIES, Va. (WJLA) - A local family has another reason to be thankful this holiday.
Army reservist Kelly Leblanc had been deployed in Kuwait since January. On Monday, she surprised her five children at their schools, starting with her 18-year-old twin daughters in Dumfries.
Just by looking at Lt. Col. Kelly Leblanc, you can tell that waiting these last few minutes is almost too much to bear for this stay-at-home mom turned citizen soldier.
"It's been 365 days," she said.
But there is no question that this reunion was worth waiting for - a surprise holiday hug from her daughter, Michelle.
Colonel Mom didn't come all the way from Kuwait for just one Thanksgiving surprise, however. Ana, Michelle's twin sister, are both high school seniors, and the reunion even had dad wiping away tears.
"That's what I was imagining -- just coming home and being able to hold them, just to hug them, a couple times on Skype you want to reach out and hold them, but you can't...this is great, I'm thankful," said Leblanc.
Then, it was time to surprise the boys. The Leblancs have five children in all, and the top secret plan was to surprise each of them individually.
Davis is 12 years old, and says, "I don't know how to put it in words. It's not like when you Skype her and you see her on a tablet, it's not the same."
Then there's 8-year-old Michael, who is a little lost for words at first, but they have lots to catch up on. He's lost a tooth!
Seven-year-old Issy plays it cool, but displays quite the smile as he goes to hug his mom for the first time in a long time.
It's a perfect start to a Thanksgiving they'll never forget.
And Leblanc's children say they're happy to have her home, especially because she's a much better cook than their dad for Thanksgiving dinner.