RICHMOND, Texas -

Three unsuspecting kids got the surprise of a lifetime when their father showed up at the Lamar Little League field in Richmond. 

Army Capt. Ed Maxa had been in Afghanistan and hadn't seen his children, ages 18 months, 7 and 8 in a year.

"It feels amazing," Maxa said. 

"Are you staying?" asked 7-year-old Corbin.

"I'm staying, bud.  I'm home." Maxa replied. 

Maxa said he missed his family the most while he was away. He kept in touch with Paige, Corbin, Collin and Brenner through Skype and phone call,s but it was nothing compared to the hugs and kisses he got Thursday evening. 

His wife of nearly 10 years, Tara Maxa, said the last year has been the longest of her life.

"My family and my friends have been amazing during this time," she said. "I could not have gone through this without them."

Maxa enlisted in the Army in May 2001. He did two tours in Afghanistan and is now part of the Army Reserves. He will return to his regular job with Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection after a 30-day break. 

"It was a hard year but I'm so proud of him," his wife said.  "I'm glad he's home."