DALLAS – A North Texas father serving in Afghanistan made a surprise trip home on Friday to be with his newborn son.
It was an unexpected reunion for the military family, just in time for Memorial Day.
“We’ve had a ton of help, but it’s still not the same as having dad home,” said his wife, Jessica.
Lt. Patrick Boothe, 31, of Forney wasn’t due home for another three months. The Navy medic has been serving in southern Afghanistan since February, treating injured soldiers.
Yet on Wednesday, his wife gave birth early to their first son, Knox. At the time, Boothe watched the delivery through an Internet feed from his military base.
But the childbirth had complications. Knox arrived six weeks premature, and his umbilical cord had wrapped dangerously around him.
“It was hard to deal with not being able to be here,” Boothe said.
Because the birth was complicated, the military rushed him onto a plane minutes after Knox arrived.
He arrived home in North Texas Friday afternoon and immediately reunited with his family at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where mother and son are recovering. The two could be able to go home as early as Saturday.
“It’s just indescribable,” Jessica said. “We didn’t think he’d be able to come home at all.”
She jokes her son simply wanted his father home for Memorial Day.
“I think he was saying, ‘Okay, I’ve had enough. Let’s get dad home,’” she said.
Patrick must return in a couple of weeks to finish his deployment. Yet, now he’s reveling in the time he gets to spend with his wife and children.
His two young daughters - ages five and two - did not know he was returning home early. After the two girls spotted their father, they smiled widely and silently ran into his open arms as he sat next to his son’s hospital crib.
“We’re going to get as much daddy time as we can,” Jessica said. “He’s here with us, so we’re thankful.”