Fifteen-year-old Hakeem Jackson says he's lost count. He says it's been about 180 days since he last saw his father who's serving overseas in Iraq.
Hakeem says, "It's hard, see, because he'd usually wake me up in the morning and things like that, cook breakfasts on Saturdays."
A bill passed by the Georgia House and now in the Senate would give students like Jackson five days off from school when their parents return home from overseas, but for Jackson, that would be too late.
His dad returns home next week. With his dad's leave only lasting 15 days, the sophomore turned to his principal.
Dr. Frank Delaney, Principal of Thomas County Central High, says, "Regardless of what the bill says, we're going to give him five unexcused absences to be with his family."
Rhonda Jackson, Hakeem's mother, says, "I really appreciate that, and I think his father's going to like that too."
The days add up, but this soldier's son says he understands when duty calls.
Hakeem Jackson says, "He did good for doing that, for going and fighting for us and everything because he didn't have to go back in, but then he said he wanted to retire and everything."
And now with a break from the books, Hakeem can make up for lost time with his hero, time he says will include some basketball and a lot of fishing.
On a conference call Friday morning, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue asked the state's school superintendents to give employees with spouses serving overseas time off when their loved ones return home.