FORT MYERS, Fla.- For Cindy and Ray Keller, a taped video message is as close as they'll get to having their son in their living room this holiday season.
"It's hard with an empty house so much of the time. Got a dog to help soothe the mothering instinct," Cindy Keller said Friday.
Spc. Kyle Cummins is overseas, serving his second tour in Iraq. He'll be far from his Fort Myers roots for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"With today's technology, it makes it much easier. But still, your heart goes out because they're not there. You can't give them a hug and love on them," Cindy said.
Three out of the Kellers' four children made defending their country their career. Two of the kids are active duty, making empty chairs around the holidays more of a norm with each passing year.
"I don't even remember the last time. It's been 20 years or something, 15 years it's been," Ray Keller said Friday.
But the holiday spirit doesn't skip over this military mom. She's packing it up and shipping it off, to bring a little Christmas cheer straight to her son in Iraq.
"Even though they're grown men and they're soldiers, they're still boys, so we have Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes," Cindy said, while showing her son's holiday care package.
Even though all the kids won't be home for the holidays, the Kellers say they're never too far from their hearts.
"I know they're ok. And they are always in our mind, and in our prayers. So they are never gone that far. Physically, yes, but mentally they're always here," Ray Keller said Friday.
Each of the Kellers' kids serve in a different branch of the military. Kyle is currently serving in the Army, his brother is in the Navy, and their sister spent 20 years serving in the Air Force.