A 3-year-old boy could not wait for his mom to be dismissed after serving nine months in Afghanistan with the National Guard. As soon as he saw her, he ran over while she was still in line waiting to be dismissed.

Cooper Waldvogel loves his mom more than military protocol.

The 3-year-old boy could not wait for his mom to be dismissed after serving nine months in Afghanistan with the National Guard’s 114th Transportation Company based in Chisholm, Minn.

He ran to her Tuesday morning while she and her fellow soldiers stood in line waiting to be dismissed.

“I was longing to hold him, that’s all that I thought about,” said his mother, Kathryn Waldvogel, 25.

Her first sergeant told her and the other soldiers they would file in to the auditorium and would be dismissed shortly. But they were not to say hello to family members because it would take too long.

Cooper took care of that, running to his mother’s arms.

“He just kept smiling like he was in awe of me,” she said.

A KARE-TV photographer captured the moment and the station posted it to Facebook. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive.

“It melts my heart, it’s so great,” Waldvogel said.

But this wasn’t the first time little Cooper and his family had to wait for a loved one’s arrival.

“He kind of did the same thing for me,” said Cooper’s dad, Adam Waldvogel, 26.

Kathryn’s husband returned from serving in Afghanistan with the National Guard in December. He was with the 850th Horizontal Engineers. That means Cooper’s been without his parents in the same spot for more than a third of his life.

“He’s the definition of resiliency, that’s for sure,” Adam said.

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