Heading overseas for his first deployment away from his family, Air Force Maj. Steve Dillenburger wanted to make sure that his son still went to bed each night with a kiss from daddy.

Dillenburger, 36, put 190 Hershey’s Kisses in a jar for his son Sean, 3, for every day he would be in Kuwait, from April 17 to Oct. 25, when he returned home to Annandale, Virginia.

“It was just something sweet at the end of the night and a reminder that (Steve) was thinking about him and loves him,” mom Mary Ellen Dillenburger, 32, told TODAY.

The dwindling supply in the jar also meant it was one day closer to his return. The last week before Dillenburger returned was filled with excitement because there were only a handful left.

Steve gave Sean a kiss for real in a joyous reunion last month that was captured on video by family friend Katie Sheridan.

“It was really sweet,” Mary Ellen said. “I was excited to see my son run out there, so I kind of hung back a little bit and watched how excited how happy he was to have daddy home finally.”

This was Steve Dillenburger's first deployment away from his wife, Mary Ellen, son Sean, 3, and daughter Ann Marie, 1, since the birth of the children. MaryEllen Dillenburger

This was Steve Dillenburger’s first deployment away from his wife, Mary Ellen, son Sean, 3, and daughter Ann Marie, 1, since the birth of the children. MaryEllen Dillenburger

Read more about how Sean counted down the days until his dad’s return on TODAY.

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