HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Synjin Withers, an energetic 5-year-old boy, has been the man of his house for the last 10 months. That's because his dad, Master Sergeant Dakota Withers, has been deployed in Kuwait.
Synjin was just four when his dad deployed. Master Sergeant Withers said trying to explain how long 10 months is and why he had to leave was difficult for his son to understand.
"Before I left, I wasn't sure he knew that I was a soldier and what a soldier does. So, we read a lot of books. This is what daddy does, this is where daddy’s going, I’m going to be safe," he explained.
Wednesday, after 10 months away from his son, Withers and his wife Karen surprised Syjin at his summer camp at the Shady Grove YMCA in Henrico. Withers said while overseas, what he has missed the most was watching his son grow.
"I mean at this age, they grow and they change so fast. He was six weeks old when I had to go away for five weeks for school for the military. And just in those five weeks, it was amazing the change," said Withers.
As Withers walked down the hall of the YMCA holding hands with his wife, he was full of excitement knowing that as soon as he opened the door to the gym, he would officially be reunited with his son.
When he entered the gym, Synjin slowly walked up to his dad and hugged him, but was quick to remind his dad about their plans to make a Lego volcano together.
"Can we go home now? I really want to make it!," Synjin said.
Not a surprising request, according to Synjin's mom.
"My son’s been waiting quite a while to build his Lego volcano with Daddy," Karen Withers said.
Master Sergeant Withers said he did not expect to be deployed again -- at least not for a few years.
Good news for little Synjin.
"We have a lot more to do," Synjin said to his dad. "A lot more."