Military Mom Surprises Dad With a Way To Celebrate Christmas as a Family From Overseas

Danielle Cobo

Family Christmas card
Danielle Cobo

When you're a military spouse, parenting solo for much of the year is par for the course. Still, that doesn't make it easy -- especially when it comes to the holidays. Danielle Cobo knows this all too well. Her husband is a Blackhawk pilot in the Air Force, and was deployed earlier this year. She faces spending Christmas without him, at home with their two small children, and admits she's filled with many emotions. But that's also what sparked her recent idea for a family Christmas card -- one that would bring them all together again (at least in spirit).

  • Cobo tells CafeMom that the couple wed six years ago. Even then, however, she had no idea her husband harbored a secret dream. 

    Eight months after their wedding, she says he closed his business and pursued life in the military as a Blackhawk pilot.

    "Since then, we’ve lived in three states and endured, on multiple occasions, several months apart," she tells CafeMom. But this year's deployment has been the toughest, admits Cobo, who lives in Tampa, Florida. 

    "By the time he returns, my husband will have missed half of our twins' lives," she notes.

  • Advertisement
  • But this Christmas, even though he won't be there in body, he'll be there in spirit. Especially now, thanks to his wife's creative Christmas card.

    Danielle Cobo's family Christmas Card
    Danielle Cobo

    Cobo recently asked her husband to take a photo on his military base. 

    The directions were simple: "I said 'Can you take a photo of you in your uniform with your hand out?' He really had no idea what I was doing," Cobo recalled to ABC Action News.

    Her husband obliged. Cobo had photographer Shannon Sturgeon snap a photo of her with her twins -- also with her arm outstretched -- and digitally combine the photos to look as though the family was all in one happy snapshot.

    "This year, like many other military families, we are missing the holidays together," she tells CafeMom. "However, with some creative photography, help from Photoshop friends, and a little luck we have found a way to be together for the holidays."

  • The result was a simple but happy photo that's making its way around the internet in a big way.

    Needless to say, her husband was overjoyed when he saw it. 

    "He was happy to be be part of the photos," the mom told GMA. "He's having a hard time being away from [us] during the holidays."

    Still, as hard as it's been, Cobo says she "wouldn’t change a thing." She just hopes her little Christmas photo helps bring a little happiness (and maybe some inspiration) to the lives of other military families who also may be struggling through the holidays.

    "Just wanted to share our picture and offer encouragement to all the other strong military families out there," she tells CafeMom. "Where there’s a will, there’s a way. This year, we ask Santa to bring Daddy home safe."