MOLINE, Illinois-- 6,500 sailors returned home for the holidays all over the United States. For the Rotzinger family that means their home is almost complete.
One anxious mom, two excited kids, all waiting on their brave daddy.
"It`s one of the biggest Christmas gifts I could ask for and I am really excited to see him," said Nathan Davison. Nathan is twelve-years-old and now goes to the same school his dad met his mother at nearly thirteen years ago.
"The last year we have spent at least 90% of it apart," said Sarah Rotzinger. Sarah's husband Thomas is in the Navy, serving on the USS Harry S. Truman. He's been deployed for the past eight months.
"It`s very very hard especially with a three-year-old it`s very hard to be apart but sometimes distance makes the heart grow fonder," said Sarah.
That distance, shrinking by the minute now, as this family waits for the ultimate Christmas present to arrive.
Not even Santa can make eyes light up quite like this. Not wrapped in green and red but in navy blue Chief Rotzinger is home.
"Finding out when we were coming home from deployment and my leave got to start it all happened on my birthday so it was a nice little gift to me and something I could share with them," said Thomas Rotzinger. His flight landed on December 17, his 32nd birthday.
"I am so extremely proud of him he has been trying for four years to make chief and this deployment he made chief," said Sarah.
Home safe and sound with daddy by their side. This family is finally complete.
"They never get me for holidays so the fact that i was able to support it and make it happen this time it was a big deal to me," said Thomas.
Thomas only has a few days at home before he heads back out to Norfolk, Virginia.