CHOCTAW, Okla. - The holidays are about spending time with family, but that can be a challenge for some service members.
However, two students in Choctaw got a wonderful surprise just in time for Christmas.
While everyone was preparing for the 'The Nutcracker' at James Griffith Intermediate School, another performance was happening behind the scenes.
Ryan Morrow has been deployed for the last 20 months.
"I didn't realize how hard it would be without them… one or two times a year,” Ryan said.
A computer screen is the closest he gets to seeing his three children, including 22-month-old Hudson.
On Tuesday morning, he got to see them in person.
"Give Santa a big round of applause!" said a school leader.
Madison and Blake had no idea Santa Claus was actually their father in disguise when they were pulled on stage.
"You want a dirt bike. And, what about you? You want daddy to come home?" Ryan asked, dressed as Santa.
At that point, Ryan told the children to look at their mom and tell her what they want for Christmas.
"I want daddy to come home,” Madison said.
"I want a dirt bike,” Blake said.
"Hey, guys,” Ryan said, taking off his suit.
There were hugs and tears for the father they have missed so much.
"It's been hard, but I get on a schedule and I get used to it. It's my kids that don't get used to it,” said Megan Morrow.
"It was a surprise, and I didn't know it was going to be him but it was,” Blake said.
Madison wanted a surprise like this for a while.
"I was visiting in May, and she was watching YouTube videos and saw her tearing up in her room and said 'What's going on?' And, she said 'Just watching videos of dads surprising their kids,' and she's like 'That's my wish. That's my dream. I wish you could do that for me,'” Morrow said.
The family is back together again, just in time for Christmas.
However, it won't be a long stay. Ryan will be leaving for San Diego on Dec. 26.