Military deployments can be hard for families, but for one girl in Springfield, Virginia, the wait is finally over.
This week, Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Younkle of the U.S. Coast Guard decided to surprise his daughter Kaylee as the “mystery reader” for her kindergarten class following his year-long deployment to the Middle East.
“We talked on FaceTime as much as we could this year when I was in the Middle East, and every day she told me she misses me and she can’t wait to see me,” Younkle said.
The 6-year-old was keeping track of the days since her dad left.
“I was so excited to see Dada from a 100, no, from a one year and three day trip,” Kaylee said.
Even for children as young as Younkle’s daughter, the separation that comes from military service has an impact.
“When you become a parent, the number one thing you wanna do is just be present in your child’s life,” Younkle said. “So it’s so hard not to be able to be there day in and day out.”
Among the big plans Kaylee has for the summer now that her father is home are celebrating her 7th birthday and introducing him to their new family dog.