AUSTIN (KXAN) - Josiah Pena paced and knotted his hands waiting for his dad to arrive at the Austin airport Wednesday.
"I am so excited," Josiah said, surrounded by his mom and his brother and sister. "Hopefully, the Lord makes the two weeks a long two weeks -- a good, long two weeks," he told his mom.
Josiah and his older brother Jesse, 17 -- along with little sister Isabella, 6, and their mom Tracey -- were anxious to see U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Robert Pena for the first time in seven months. He has been deployed to Afghanistan and the family has not been together since last Thanksgiving.
"I am beyond excited," said Tracey Pena. "They just found out last night that he was coming in, so we are very excited. We just can't wait to see him."
Josiah turned 10 years old on Tuesday, and his dad was supposed to make a surprise appearance at the Round Rock Express game that night. However, his flight was delayed one day, putting him home on the Fourth of July instead.
"It's been a team effort to pull through these last months, and we've made it one step at a time. And we made it one day at a time, and it just feels good to have our dad back for a while," said Jesse, while he was waiting for his dad.
The children stared up at the escalator for more than half an hour waiting to catch a glimpse of their dad until finally, he appeared and Josiah and Isabella rushed emotionally in to his arms.
"It's a long time overdue," said Pena. "We talked about this and dreamt about this, and it seemed like it would never happen. And it finally did, and I'm just thankful to God that I was able to see everything come through and be here."
The Pena family will be together for two weeks before Pena returns to Afghanistan to complete his deployment.
"I'm just going to spoil my wife and my kids for the next two weeks," he said. "We got some fun in the sun in Rockport and have some good food because we don't have good food over there."
Pena is a member of the U.S. Army Reserves out of Camp Mabry in Austin.
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