Amsterdam Police officer Angie Kercado-Clymer, left, Samantha Clymer, right, and daughter Claudia, center, hug each other.
By CASEY CROUCHER
Samantha Clymer won't say the hardest part of her Navy job is the long workdays or the months spent at sea. The hardest part is being away from her family.
Clymer, an E-4 3rd Class Fire Controlman, spent nine months sailing from Ukraine to Georgia to Dubai, and finally returned to Amsterdam for a week, just in time for Mother's Day.
"On the ship they give you two leave periods and this week just happened to be one," she said last week. "It worked out perfectly for Mother's Day."
Clymer got home Friday, May 2, and decided she would surprise her daughter, Claudia, who had no idea she was coming. She went with her mother, Amsterdam police officer Angie Kercado-Clymer, to McNulty School, where Claudia was in the cafeteria having lunch.
"The school took us into the cafeteria and my granddaughter heard somebody say 'Claudia! Claudia!' and she looked up, saw her mom, and went running right into her arms and jumped on her," Angie said.
Samantha Clymer said she was so happy to see her daughter she couldn't help but cry.
"My body just started shaking," she said. "Even when I was still on the boat I thought about the moment I'd be able to see her and I started crying. It's hard being away from your child."
Angie said she cried watching the mother and child reunion.
"Thank goodness I had my sunglasses on," she said.
Samantha Clymer said she got just as emotional when she saw her mother as well.
"I felt like when I saw her I was safe again and I was home," she said. "There were times when I was on the ship and I'd be like, 'I'm never going to get back home' and she'd help me keep going."
Six-year-old Claudia said she was so happy to see her mommy that she ran "super fast" from across the cafeteria.
Angie joked with Claudia, saying, "Grandma didn't tell you when exactly Mommy was coming home so you didn't know when you'd see her but you were so excited."
"You tricked me," Claudia said laughing. "But it was the best surprise."
Angie said Claudia missed her mother a lot and was already dreading her departure today; however, she'll be moving in with her mother Samantha this summer in Virginia, where she's stationed, after her deployment ends and Claudia finishes the school year.
Clymer said she tries not to think about how much she misses her family when she's gone because it makes things a lot worse.
"You try to not think because that's when you let your guard down and it hurts you the most and you get weak," she said. "There were times when I would call Claudia and she'd say 'Mommy, I'm happy here,' and that would make me feel better and I'd tell myself I'm taking it worse than her and I just wanted to make sure that she was OK."
Angie said that despite not seeing her daughter as much as she wants, she's very proud of her.
"I'm so proud of everything she's accomplished," she said. "Having her and my granddaughter with me on Mother's Day is a present in and of itself."