By Juli McDonald

FRANKLIN (CBS) – A ring of the doorbell at the Eatons’ home in Franklin this week turned out to be so much sweeter than a dinner delivery.

“I had the butterflies in my stomach. Waiting to see what her expression was. It’s one of those… once in a lifetime experiences you’re never going to have again,” said Michael Eaton.

After a summer deployment to Iraq with the Air Force Reserves, Michael Eaton is home. Brianna didn’t think she’d see her dad until October!

Michael Eaton, who was deployed in Iraq with the Air Force Reserves, surprises his daughter Brianna (Video credit Easton Fire)

“I tried to look out the window but I’m like, ‘there’s no one there. Is there a ghost or something?’ So I walk over to the door and open it and I see dad and I’m speechless like, ‘am I dreaming right now?!’” Brianna said.

The 8-year-old has desperately missed all the best parts of being with her very best friend.

“Usually he’s always the one who tucks me in and stays longer and falls asleep with me,” she said.

Firefighter Michael Eaton, his daughter Brianna and wife Kim. (Photo courtesy Easton Fire Department)

The time apart is of course hard on Michael and wife Kim, too. But his career of service is a calling.

“It’s just something I’ve always done from Boy Scouts to the fire department to the military. Helping your neighbor if you will and being there for others and doing what you’ve got to do to pitch in,” Eaton added.

The Easton firefighter will return to work in September. For now, it’s all about enjoying the little things.

“Being able to tuck her in and say goodnight and give her hugs whenever you want to. It’s special,” he said.

Juli McDonald

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