So when she surprised them Friday morning, it made seeing them that much more special.
Crowl, a reservist with the U.S. Army, returned after 11 months in Iraq, Syria and Kuwait. She was due home next week, but returned early.
The Monroeville Elementary children were having a Pennies for Patients for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society assembly in the gym when the four Crowl children — Sydnee, 13, Ethan, 13, Lucas, 11, and Madison, 9 — were called up front. Suddenly, their mother slipped in the back door and the four children rushed into her arms.
Crowl has been in the reserves for six years, but this was the first time here battalion was deployed.
She knew when she went in her time was coming.
Why the Army reserves?
“I felt like this was the right thing to do,” Crowl said. “Just do something for my country. They were so young they really didn’t know the difference.”
Crowl is part of the 983rd Engineering Battalion out of Monclova. Their specialty is military installation.
“We did our port to port. ... We took care of everybody, any of the fobs we were in,” she said. “It was a job we had to do.”
Crowl spends one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer with the battalion. She is in for at least eight more years and she said she hopes to be in long enough to retire from the Army.
“Too long. I was excited to finally see them,” said Crowl, adding FaceTime is nice, but it’s not the same.
What do her children think?
“She lied to me,” said Lucas with a big smile, talking about the surprise.
“We’re going to have a great life now,” Madison said as she hugged her mother.