LEBANON, Ten. – It’s a surprise 9-year-old Luca Cesternino will never forget.
Luca was at a Taekwondo lesson Monday night when some of his instructors told him he’d be sparring three instructors blindfolded.
Little did he know, his dad, Staff Sergeant Rob Cesternino of the Tennessee National Guard, would be one of them.
Cesternino had been serving in Jordan and southern Syria since May of 2018. He told WSMV he’d talk to Luca, his youngest of six, about every two weeks while he was deployed.
The reunion between father and son was caught on camera.
Luca starts sparring with his “final instructor” when all of a sudden his dad calls him by a childhood nickname.
Luca then stops and rips off his blindfold, jumping into his dad’s arms.
“You were such a big boy when I was gone. I am so proud of you,” Cesternino told Luca. “We don’t give enough thought to how tough it is on the families we leave behind.”
“I missed him so much,” said Luca.