Returning soldier sneaks into wife's photo at Christmas lights display

"I'm speechless. I have no words. I’m so excited."

Mariah Clark of Fayetteville, North Carolina, thought she was only posing with a cardboard cutout of her husband, Terrence Clark, an infantry specialist in the Army, but when she spotted something more when she viewed the photo.

Her husband, who had been deployed to Afghanistan for six months, had snuck into the background of the picture to give her the best holiday gift ever.

“I’m speechless. I have no words. I’m so excited,” Mariah Clark told ABC News of the special moment. “He’s been gone since June so he missed the 4th of July, he’s missed both of our birthdays, he missed Thanksgiving. So we have a lot to catch up on.”

Terrence Clark was hiding in a shed until the big reveal. He said he was “really excited” but also “really nervous” to see his wife for the first time in six months.“The anticipation was driving me crazy,” he said.

Mariah Clark has the large cutout of her husband’s face for posing in photos to create a photo album for him of memories while he’s away. She had said Christmas was going to feel “different not having him there,” but now she no longer has to worry about that.

“I have to go out shopping and rush to get stuff wrapped and I’m running out of time,” she said with a laugh.

The happy couple are looking forward to spending time together with their beloved Siberian husky over the holidays.