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'Momma made it': US Army sergeant surprises kids after being gone for nearly a year

For the military mom from Texas, she didn't want to miss another one of her kids' practices or games.

HOUSTON — For North Shore High School senior Ivory Anna Mercer and her brother Braylon Jones, Friday was supposed to be a typical day. 

Ivory would be playing in her varsity volleyball game and Braylon would be in the stands cheering her home. Business as usual. But that was until the starting lineup was called. 

Hiding out was their mother, U.S. Army sergeant Courtney Jones, who they hadn't seen in nearly a year. 

“This is going to be the first time since I’ve been away," Courtney said. 

She has been deployed in Kuwait and Iraq and says though she Facetimes her children often, it's nothing like having them in her presence.

“That time difference was very big," she said. "But I did what I needed to make sure I was able to talk to them.” 

For the military mom, she didn't want to miss another one of her kids' practices or games so she decided to surprise them both in a big way. 

“It was a little nerve-wracking just to try to keep their secret," Courtney said. “I don’t know who’s gonna cry, (Ivory) or me.” 

When the starting lineup was announced, Courtney heard her daughter's name, and in a sea of students, staff and fans, Courtney traded in her sergeant hat for her favorite title -- mom. 

“Momma made it," she said. "That’s the number one job is going back as mom. Definitely.” 

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