ROANOKE, Va. -

A surprise homecoming took place in Roanoke Tuesday.

As if Technical Sergeant and William Fleming graduate Marquia Rivera wasn't anxious enough to see her family, she had to wait a little longer because of Monday's snow.

The fourth and fifth graders at Grandin Court Elementary School have a big concert at Wednesday night's PTA Meeting, and Marquia surprised her son John at a practice Tuesday.

“He's a little shy so he's probably just going to look around and hug her and he may even cry,” Aunt Terra Cunningham said before the surprise.

John’s mother just got back from Afghanistan.

“He's going to be excited. I know he is,” Marquia Rivera said.

As she was about to see her son for the first time in nearly five months, she said she was excited and she could feel her heart beating.

When the time came for her to walk in, it took John a little nudge to stop singing and go hug the woman he loves the most in this world.

They hugged and cried as Marquia commented on John’s haircut and asked if she surprised him, laughing when he said yes.

For this family, these homecomings are a sobering reminder of the sacrifice made by family and soldier.

For John Rivera, it's also a painful reminder of those who can't share in his joy.

When asked if he missed his mom, he nodded. When asked why he missed her so much, he said “I didn’t see her for a long time. And my dad, he passed away.”

John said his father passed away when he was four.

Finally, again, John Rivera does have his mother.

That's pretty perfect for now.