In many ways, life for the Watsons stopped when their son left for Iraq last December. They postponed and rescheduled his sister's wedding and his stepmother kept the Christmas tree up the entire year, decorated with her son's favorite things. His father only thought about his son in a dangerous place.
"About the second week he got there, he was in his barrack and they heard a lot of explosives outside so he grabbed his M-16 and headed outside ready to do who knows what," says father, Jeffery Watson.
But now, Jared is driving home from his station in North Carolina, and his family is preparing to see him for the first time in almost a year.
"I'm very proud of him, he's become a man through all of this," says mother, Rose Lee.
"We're not the really emotional break down and cry guys, but down deep inside it's there, the emotions are definitely there, we may cover him up but they're there," says father, Jeffery.
"When I knew that he was leaving, it just broke my heart. Jared wanted to make something of himself, and he has made something tremendously of himself," says stepmother Kay Watson.
"I don't deserve this, I don't deserve the welcome back party, I didn't do anything but my job," says Jared Watson.
A job he could go back to very soon. His group may leave for Iraq in January.
"I have a lot of pride for my country and I'm happy to serve it, especially for these people right here," says Jared.
"We'll have to deal with it, if he goes back 'cause he will. We'll back him 100 % because he is doing something he believes in. He really believes in God and his country," says stepmother, Kay.
But at least for the next 20 days, Jared's back. It'll be a time to spend with his family as a new man.
"He left as a boy and he's home as a man in my eyes," says Kay.