CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - After more than a year of serving in Afghanistan, one Lowcountry soldier made a surprise return home.
Army Chaplain Assistant Byron Rounds flew into Columbia and drove into Charleston to surprise his three daughters and wife, Maisha on Friday.
"She doesn't expect me today, [she thinks it's] gonna be probably closer to Thanksgiving," Rounds said.
He says there's no doubt his wife was surprised because when we showed up at her school where she teaches, she was at the SC Aquarium on a field trip.
When he surprised her there, she had tears in her eyes, and couldn't stop smiling. "I felt like I needed to pinch myself to make sure it was really happening when he walked through the door," Maisha said.
Rounds says he's missed birthdays and holidays, but also big events for his wife. "She's written a book, gotten it published, and teacher of the year. I said, 'Maybe I need to go away more often.' I was joking," Rounds said.
From the Aquarium he headed over to see his three children, Faith, Hope and Charity.
"They've been talking about him, dreaming about him, thinking about him, we've been counting down the days," Maisha said.
"Yeah, I wanna wrap my arms around them and kiss them and kiss them and hold them and hold them," Rounds said.
Now he wants to make up for time he's missed -- "just the little things, when the kids are crying for daddy, when the kids want someone with them or to play with them," he said.
Rounds says his time in Kabul taught him a lot about appreciating America and not taking anything for granted.
"Running water, hot water, electricity that consistently works. If you'd see what I saw you'd say man this is great, this is beautiful," Rounds said.
But nothing compares with being back together with his family.
"I've got my husband back, my king, my prince, my soldier is back home," Maisha said.