By Wendy Widom and Ben Larson

CHICAGO (CBS) — For many, Fourth of July weekend was a happy haze of barbecues, fireworks, and time with friends. But for one Illinois mom, the holiday held a unique and joyful surprise: a visit from her son Keith, a Marine currently stationed in Pendleton, California.

At 6:30 A.M., mom Kristen Martin-Bosgraaf got a wake-up call from her sister, Tracey Elderson, who helped plan the surprise. Elderson told her sister she was driving by and noticed something wrong with a car in Martin-Bosgraaf’s driveway. Half-asleep, Martin-Bosgraaf walked out of her home to examine the car.

That’s when she noticed her son, Keith Martin, along the side of the house with a big bouquet of flowers in his hands.

“No way, no way, oh my God,” cried Martin-Bosgraaf, as she rushed into her son’s outstretched arms.

Then came the tears, lots and lots of happy tears.


“He told me months ago his platoon couldn’t leave for the Fourth, so I didn’t mention it again” she says. “The Fourth of July is my and Keith’s favorite holiday, so it definitely made my day.”

She holds a special spot in her heart for her first-born child. “For the first five years of his life, we struggled,” she says of her time as a single mom. “We have a bond different than I have with everybody.”

Keith returned to his base a couple of days after the special homecoming.

In October, he will be deployed overseas. “We miss him like crazy every day,” says Martin-Bosgraaf.