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When asked by her kindergarten teacher what her wish was Friday, Bella Winder, 5, wished her father were home.

Her dad, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Emerson Winder, had been deployed overseas since July, and Bella knew that it was possible he’d be coming home for Christmas.

What she didn’t know was that when she opened her eyes in class at William B. Wade Elementary School after making her wish, her father would be right beside her.

“Daddy!” Bella exclaimed a few moments after registering that her father was the man kneeling beside her.

The two embraced, and Bella smiled.

A similar scene took place at the same school a few minutes earlier when Winder surprised his son, Brennen, 10.

Brennen’s teacher announced that a special guest had come to visit. When Winder walked in the class, Brennen caught a glimpse, and his mouth dropped open in surprise.

He stood up to greet his father with a hug, took a minute to look at him again and then embraced his dad a little longer.

Winder said prior to surprising his children, he has been able to talk with them via Skype and on the phone during his deployment.

“[To] actually be able to hug them and hold them in my arms. ... Just being able to see them is so exciting,” he said.

Winder said the past several months have been the longest he’s been away from his family.

Winder’s wife, Ginger, not only kept up with everyday activities with her children, but while her husband was away, she handled the family plan to move from their home in Waldorf to a new home in La Plata.

Winder said his wife did an “amazing job” while he was away.

“And she is stunning,” he said.”

Winder said he was very excited to be home with his wife and children and wanted to thank friends, family and community members for their support and help while he was away.

Winder said he will spend his time home hanging out with his family, which Brennen said means playing lots of video games and Bella said means playing games and with Barbie dolls.

Bella said what she likes best about her dad are “tickle fights.”

gphillips@somdnews.com