It was a priceless reaction from Taylor Cady Thursday afternoon, after seeing her dad for the first time since September.
The feeling was just as overwhelming for PA Air National Guard Sr. Airman David Graci, finally home after serving a six-month tour in Afghanistan.
“Just happy to see her, I mean, you miss a lot when you’re away for that long, so you miss a lot of memories that they’re having,” Graci said. “A lot of the sporting events, all of the little things. So it’s good to see her.”
A magical moment for the 8th grader, shared with nearly a thousand of her classmates, teachers and family members at Mechanicsburg Middle School during a school assembly.
“I was like, ‘he’s here, I can talk to him in person,’ I was just shocked,” Cady said.
The masterminds behind the whole surprise were mom Nicole Graci and school counselor Meg Riley.
For mom, it wasn’t easy keeping quiet.
“It was awful!” she said. “I’ve been lying to them for a good week. I lied to them this morning and I lied to my daughter in high school this morning about why I had to take her to school early. So I’m really glad that the lies are over!”
But Cady clearly didn’t mind being lied to.
“I’m just really happy that he’s home and I love him and happy that he’s safe,” she said. “I had the best prize I could ask for.”
Cady’s surprise was the was the second one of the day for the family. Eldest daughter Ally Hart got her surprise Thursday morning at the high school.