A soldier has recorded his four-year-old son’s touching reaction to his return after an absence of 288 days with the military.
Theodore Ryan, 20, left home last August for basic training and advanced individual training (AIT) before being stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, missing Christmas with his family.
It’s fair to say, after all that time, Alius was pleased to see his dad.
After being gone 288 days i surprised my little man🙂 pic.twitter.com/w2wWXibtUm— Teddy (@Theodore_1Smith) June 28, 2018
“When I first saw him he was frightened and jumped backwards,” Theodore told the Press Association. “Then he looked at my face and said ‘dad!’ and gave me a huge hug and melted in my arms. It was awesome.”
Since Theodore’s return he and Alius have been up to all sorts, from going out for food and to the park and watching the Incredibles 2, to having family barbecues, going swimming and fishing.
“All of the little father-son adventures we could think about,” added Theodore.
This is awesome, Theo.— Ballot or the Bullet (@JJones816) June 28, 2018
Thank you for your service and congrats on some deserved leave. https://t.co/vZZ2srAjXx— Brooklyn Tennessean (@patrickgipson) June 29, 2018
So how hard is it for military personnel being away from their families for so long?
“I haven’t been in long enough to give an accurate description on how it is,” said Theodore. “But being gone that long from my son so far was hard. It sucked not being able to physically be there for him.
“For anyone looking to join that’s young, just have your priorities straight and when you’re sucking in basic training just remember who you’re there for.
“On deployment just focus on who you want to see when you come home and that’ll help you overcome the long days and nights.”
While Theodore was away, Alius and his mother McKenzie Smith made a YouTube channel to help pass the time, which in turn, helped keep him up to date whilst he was overseas.