(VISALIA, Calif.) -- One soldier took the meaning of “home sweet home” to the max on Thursday.
Army Sgt. Eddie Martinez surprised his family on their doorstep, home from his second deployment, this time in Iraq. And he got a surprise of his own, as well: holding his 7-month-old baby girl for the very first time.
“It was pretty hard,” Martinez, of Visalia, California, told ABC News of keeping the surprise a secret from his wife, Angie. “She didn’t think I could do it. She always said I was really bad with surprises, so this time I had to prove her wrong.
“I coordinated with my mother-in-law and mom to help keep her from being so nosy,” he added. “She had an idea I would be home sometime within the next two weeks to a month, but no clue I’d be there that day. I just got back the day before.”
The second the front door opened, tears started flowing.
“It went better than I expected,” he said, thrilled about being able to pull it off. “I was thinking she wouldn’t be that shocked because I thought she had kind of an idea. But when we got here, the look on her face was just awesome. I knew I got her.”
Martinez’s 5-year-old son, Jordan, was thrilled to see his best friend.
“We always called each other best buds and reassured each other that we’re best buds as a way to make sure he knows his daddy is coming home,” said the proud father.
But the best treat of all, Martinez said, was getting to hold his new baby girl.
“It was an unreal experience,” he explained. “It was everything I thought it was going to be, coming home knowing I missed her birth and first seven months. It was unreal to hold her and know that it’s my daughter. It’s so special.”
Martinez will be home for four days and the family plans to enjoy every moment of the happy homecoming.
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