Home from his deployment in Iraq, Army Sgt. Eddie Martinez surprised his family on their doorstep.

Martinez, of Visalia, California, said that keeping the surprise a secret from his wife, Angie, wasn’t easy.

“I coordinated with my mother-in-law and mom to help keep her from being so nosy,” he added. “She had an idea I would be home sometime within the next two weeks to a month, but no clue I’d be there that day. I just got back the day before.”

Martinez was thrilled to be able to pull off the surprise.

“It went better than I expected,” he said. “I was thinking she wouldn’t be that shocked because I thought she had kind of an idea. But when we got here, the look on her face was just awesome. I knew I got her.”

Martinez had gifts for his 5-year-old son, Jordan. He also had flowers for wife Angie. And in return, Angie handed Martinez their baby girl.

Daughter Juliyna was born seven months ago while Martinez was in Iraq. Martinez was thrilled to re-connect with Jordan, but nothing could beat getting to hold his new baby girl for the first time.

“It was an unreal experience,” he explained. “It was everything I thought it was going to be, coming home knowing I missed her birth and first seven months. It was unreal to hold her and know that it’s my daughter. It’s so special.”

“Sometimes you have to do what’s best for them, and I’m just glad I’m able to provide for them and give them everything I didn’t have growing up.”

We hope the Martinez family will have a wonderful time being together as a family, and reconnecting.