It's the first time Blake McMahon has seen his parents' home in Tomahawk since leaving for Iraq nearly eight months ago.
In the middle of a college semester in LA, Blake was called into active duty and saw his school year come to a jarring end.
"It was tough. It was so sudden, that was why it was so tough," said McMahon. "I had two weeks to just stop my life."
But now thanks to the Army's lottery system, McMahon is back home for Christmas. The two-week leave is welcome news to his parents who have been loosing sleep over the fear of Blake being hurt or killed in Iraq, but as much of a reprieve as it has been for them, Blake's mother won't be able to fully relax until her son is home for good.
"I know they have a job to do and I'm so proud of Blake and all the soldiers to have them doing what they're doing," said Diane McMahon, Blake's mother, "but I can't wait to have 'em home."
Blake is looking forward to the end of his tour as well, but there was one event he wishes he could have been in Iraq to see the capture of Saddam Hussein, but even now that the former dictator is the custody of U.S. troops, Iraq is still one of the last places McMahon wants to be.
"I don't think anything is going to make it easy to go back."