Think of the best gift you ever got in your life, and then imagine something even better. It probably still can't come close to the amazing gift Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Corrales recently gave his two children.
For that past two Christmases the Navy man has been stationed overseas, away his family. He's never been there to celebrate with his daughter, Amarie, 2; and Xavier, 5, likely has few memories of any Christmases with his father. So this year, he was determined to be there, and he let them know in the most festive and surprising way.
Yesterday the kids went to sit on Santa's lap at the Orange Park Mall in Jacksonville, Fla., near where they live. They were expecting to just tell him what they wanted and maybe get a candy cane if they were lucky. Instead they got so much more.
After learning that he'd be coming home this week from his deployment to Japan, their mother, Priscilla, had worked with the team at the mall to arrange for Richard to be there waiting ... inside a big box wrapped as a present. When Santa pointed out to the children that the box was shaking, they turned, and there was their daddy popping out of the box. Check out their reaction.
They seem stunned and so happy, and I love that Xavier is wearing a shirt that reads, "All I want for Christmas is my Daddy.” But it's their mom's tearful words toward the end that make me cry each time I watch it. I simply can't imagine Christmas without my husband, but it's the reality for so many military families.
So for this family it will be a merry one for sure. But it's also an important reminder of the others who will be missing their loved ones at this special time of year as they serve our country.
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Image via Jacksonville.com