An Army dad who was deployed to Afghanistan made sure his daughter knew she was always on his mind by writing daily notes for each day that he expected to be gone.
Staff Sgt. Philip Gray wrote 270 messages to 7-year-old Rosie just before leaving Fort Drum, New York, on Oct. 7, 2019. Mom Kristen Gray said she gave her husband the idea.
"He wrote anything from, 'You are super girl' to 'Smiling makes everyone else smile,'" Kristen Gray told "Good Morning America." "He was very big on feel-good words for her and girl power. He made sure to tell her how smart she was, and run fast in P.E. and things that would really make her happy."
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Each morning, Kristen would slip one of Philip's notes into Rosie's lunchbox. Some of them included doodles like snowmen or pumpkins to represent holidays missed.
Philip ended up returning home Aug. 8, 2020 -- three days before Rosie's birthday.
"Now that I'm home ... she asks me, 'Dad are you going leave me and mom a note?'" Philip told "GMA." "I say 'Yes bug, I will leave you a note.'"
Kristen shared a video of Philip's homecoming as well as the notes on TikTok, which was viewed over 250,000 times.
Hit 10k followers & wanted to repost my first video that brought me to TikTok. Wait for her reaction. 💙 ##happylife ##positivity ##militaryhomecoming♬ original sound - Kristen Gray
"It's a very emotional time," Philip said. "I missed all the holidays. Thankfully, this time round was just under a year so I didn't have to miss birthdays as well."
"Stepping out of quarantine and getting to see the girls, that was the greatest thing," he added.