GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - S.W.1 Chris McKissick wrote his wife, Janelle, a Facebook message early Wednesday morning letting her know his deployment would probably be over after Christmas. Then, he continued his travels to South Mississippi to surprise his wife and three kids, just in time for the holidays.
"I'm ready to go home," said McKissick.
McKissick, eager to see his family, wasted no time. He rushed to his front door to surprise his wife, first. It was a few moments that lasted what seemed like a lifetime, as the two embraced.
Then, it was off to get share the happy surprise with their three children already at school for the day.
Eight-year-old Nathan was stunned as his daddy walked through the door at Anniston Elementary School.
"Hi dad!" said Nathan.
"Hello, I missed you," responded McKissick with tears rolling down his cheek.
"I missed you, too," said Nathan.
There was just enough time to wipe away the tears of joy and it was off to Bayou View Middle School to get 12-year-old Zachary. But make no mistake, Nathan wasn't about to let go of the daddy he's been without for half of a year.
Zachary ran up to hug his dad.
"Hello!" said Zachary.
A casual embrace with his oldest son, could barely mask the emotions overflowing in the middle school computer classroom.
"He's done with his deployment!" yelled Janelle McKissick.
"Yay!" responded Zachary.
McKissick saved the best for last. It was 4-year-old Lucas' leap into daddy's arms that made the day complete.
"I just missed you," said Lucas in his dad's arms.
"I missed you, too," responded McKissick. "But I'm home. I don't have to go back. We get Thanksgiving and Christmas."
Getting to spend the holidays with Dad was something this family had accepted was not going to happen for them this year.
"Indescribable. I wasn't expecting it," said Janelle. "Still kind of in shock and not believing that he's here."
"He's just the best dad," said Zachary. "I don't want him to leave too long and he's just the best!"
The cleverly plotted homecoming was worth all the planning.
"Much, much more and at the same time exactly what I was hoping for," said McKissick.