West Columbia, SC (WLTX) - With just nine days until Christmas a lot of families are looking forward to opening their gifts with their loved ones. But for more than 150 military families, the best gift is something that cannot be unwrapped.
"It's been a big adjustment," said Marissa Cockrell. "This is all that I wanted for Christmas was to have him home."
Marissa Cockrell has been without her husband Chris for a year now. He and 149 other soldiers have been in Afghanistan.
And what an eventful year it was, Chris missed his daughter Caitlynn being born.
"I know he can't wait. We were able to Skype the birth but this will be the first time he gets to hold her so I think that's all he wanted for Christmas too."
All the minutes and seconds seemed like an eternity but as the doors opened out came the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters that were separated from their loved ones and for Cockrell; the first time getting to hold his daughter.
"It was very overwhelming, it's good to be home, I have a beautiful baby and I guess I have to learn the ropes of how to raise a child now," said Cockrell.
He says being deployed while knowing his wife and child was thousands of miles away was the toughest thing he's done in his life.
Marissa says she is just thankful that their family can now spend Christmas together as a family.
"That's really all that we wanted was to be home for Christmas, we didn't know if it was going to happen so we are just very grateful that he is able to come home just 9 days before Christmas so its going to be good," said Marissa.