But on thursday, 8 year old Jorden Mims celebrated one.
His father, Steven Mims, was deployed to Afghanistan on Jorden's birthday last April.
10 months later and balloons in hand...He surprised his son at school.
"As time went, it got really hard. Being that he has diabetes and wondering what was going on with him the whole time. Worrying about troops and everything that was going on at home. Everything that I normally do I had to let her do and still trying to do it from there...It was crazy. It was crazy." says Mims.
To deliver the surprise, Mims stayed at a relative's house for 2 days while he waited for school to re-open after this week's winter weather...
Jorden's mother Michelle worked everything out with the school...The surprise was disguised as an assembly about patriotism.
"It was a very emotional moment for me because Jorden just asked...It was last night, would his dad be home in February and I said I hope so. So then he started asking questions about being deployed and why the war is going on. And how long would the war last." says Michelle Mims.
The entire 3rd grade got to celebrate the special moment.
School principal Nicole Singletary says it was nice to see all of Jorden's classmates come together.
"It was great. We promote that family unity here at Herbert E Wood, so i knew that just having this moment would be a celebratory moment for everybody." says Singletary.
Especially for one person...
"I'm just glad to be back. Glad to be back." says Mims.