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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Cpl. Xaver Boston played the reunion over and over in his mind, but finally it was real.

Boston waited outside of the cafeteria at Jefferson Elementary in Winston-Salem until it was time for the big surprise.

Once he was given the go-ahead, he walked in and his daughters rushed to hug him.

Boston cried as he held his daughters for the first time in almost a year.

“I miss my babies and my family. I’m really happy to be home,” he said.

“We’re feeling so happy, very happy. We missed our dad a lot,” the girls said.

Boston returned home after serving his first combat deployment for a little more than 11 months in Kabul, Afghanistan.

He surprised his wife Amanda Boston by returning Saturday instead of Sunday as she expected.

Since then, the family was focused on a way to surprise the girls.

Amanda asked her mom to keep the girls over the weekend to avoid revealing the surprise.

“After all this time only being able to video chat when we could and talk on the phone when we could, after 11 months, to see them hug and kiss, it’s overwhelming,” she said.

Boston’s other relatives including his mother and mother-in-law were at the school for the surprise.

“It’s just overjoyed. I miss him so much,” his mother Flora Boston said.

“It’s just the best thing that he’s home and he’s safe,” his mother-in-law Paulette Smith said.

The family is looking forward to a vacation that will include a cruise and a trip to Disney World.

Boston was in Afghanistan working as a member of a Protective Service Detail Team.

He will remain home until he’s called to a new assignment.