A WEDDING anniversary, Christmas and a birthday.
Lieutenant Dale Howard had to celebrate all of these without his wife Aisia and young son Leo while he was away on HMS Illustrious.
But the trio, from Farlington, Portsmouth, had the perfect reunion when he returned yesterday – even the Christmas decorations are up.
‘We missed it all,’ said Lt Howard.
Aisia added: ‘We decided we’d save all the presents.
‘Over this week we’ve put up all the rest of our Christmas decorations, so the house is fully Christmas now.
‘We are going home, we’ll open some of the presents from under the tree, we’re going to have a nice dinner.
‘Santa is going to come and visit us – it’s going to be a weekend of Christmas, Christmas, Christmas.’
Back in his dad’s arms, Leo added: ‘I wanted to see him. I’ve been excited.’
And Lt Howard, who enjoyed runs ashore in Goa and Singapore, is making up for missing his wedding anniversary – he won’t be going to play darts.
‘On the way back it just seemed forever to get home,’ he said.
‘It’s amazing, I was nervous about coming home.’
‘When we come back we can’t just steamroller in and come back. I’ve got to be careful. I’m not going to go to darts. I think I’ll get in trouble for that – I’ll go next week.
‘It’s been busy. Initially it was just a training operation.’