Scott Kelly and Charlotte Kelly
Courtesy Virginia Beach City Public Schools
March 11, 2016 10:31 AM EST
Charlotte Kelly, the 12-year-old daughter of astronaut Scott Kelly, is a TIME For Kids correspondent for the year

I am an average sixth grader who goes to school every day and likes to hang out with my friends on the weekends. I love to read, play video games, draw and listen to music. I am pretty much like any other kid, except my dad just happens to pretty popular right now.

For the past year, he has helped me with homework and he even listened to my tween-age stories—all over a secure phone connection from the International Space Station to my living room in Virginia Beach. He is an American astronaut who just finished living and working on the International Space Station for a year. Scott Kelly is many things to many people, but to me, he is just my dad!

My dad came back to Earth last week, and I went to Houston to see him. When I first hugged him, I could only give him a half-hug. Once I saw an opportunity, I rushed back over to him to give him a giant bear hug. One of the first things he said to me was, “you got bigger,” and I find that funny since he did, too! I was so happy to see my dad that I wasn’t able to stop smiling.

He is just my dad, and we all knew that my long weekend away from school would soon come to an end. He is pretty strict when it comes to my grades and not missing too many days of school. I don’t mind, since I have grown up seeing what hard work and studying can do for a person. My spring break is coming up soon, and I can’t wait to hang out with him.

TIME chronicled Scott Kelly’s year-long mission for a documentary series, A Year in Space.

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