The family was reunited in April of 2018. This homecoming was of the more traditional kind, though the first with four children to greet Chris at the dock.
Chris missed his wife and all four of his children while he was away, but it was very special to return, for the first time, to Anara Rose. No one in the family will soon forget the very special surprise she was for her Navy father.
“It was an awesome surprise to find out that way," Chris said. "Finding out in email or over the phone, that’s easy, but since she saved it, it was special.” Having kids should never feel routine, it should always feel like a big step and a heartwarming experience, and Natasha certainly made sure that's what happened for her husband.
Natasha admitted keeping the secret was difficult but, as she told NBC news, it was “totally worth it in the end.” With one surprise out of the way, everyone was wondering what Natasha might have in store for her husband's next deployment.
Before Chris Daugherty was deployed again he and Natasha sat down to discuss their whole experience with CBS news. Correspondent Jamie Yuccas wanted to know if Natasha had anything more planned for her husband's next return. Natasha laughed, but admitted she had nothing planned this time around.
One huge surprise for this Baby Daddy seemed to be enough. But the family had to adjust once again to its new normal when Anara Rose was only four months old. As is the case in military families, the time had come again for Chris to deploy.
As they had known he would, Chris was shipped out in early 2018 to the western Pacific, this time for an estimated four-month tour. Away from the Korean peninsula this time, Chris would hit Guam, the Philippines, and Vietnam. There were no special surprises waiting state side, only the old and ever present feelings of loneliness and homesickness. Chris missed his children. Natasha missed her husband's voice.
His experiences at sea, so far away from his loved ones, made Chris particularly aware of the importance of his attention and one on one experiences with his family when he was home. He understood the special need to log off the computer and put away the phone to be present in the moment. Four months later the seaman docked once again in California.
Engrained in History
From secret photographs, to a homecoming video, the pregnant wife surprising her Navy husband soon moved from the small world of the Daugherty's, to the extended network of their social media contacts, and finally to the mass media. The heartwarming story caught the eye of outlets across the country. The couple sat for countless interviews and appeared in dozens of articles.
While the nature of Chris Daugherty's job will continue to separate him from his family for months at a time, this distance will continue to hold the family together, making their moments as a unit all the more meaningful and memorable. And one day Anara Rose will be old enough to understand the very special moment she represents for her family of six. A moment every member of the Daugherty family will be able to look back on and smile.