When my husband finally home came home from Iraq, after his year with the 3rd Armored Cav Regiment in the Diyala province, we decided to surprise the kids at school. Perhaps we had seen one too many of the types of videos Greg posted below. You know the kind . . . where the child doesn’t realize his or her dad is about to pop through the door and then has a joyful reaction caught on tape for the rest of their lives?
Well, we surprised the kids at Zion Christian Academy — but it was too much, and just felt wrong. We hadn’t gauged the intensity of their emotions — or ours. David had just found out (upon his arrival to the states) that one of his dear friends had been killed, so he felt wounded and raw. In turn, I felt uneasy — because I’d expected a husband that was thrilled to be home, but got a grieving soldier who regretted leaving his brothers behind.
The reunion wasn’t so much joyful as tearful. It was simply too much for a nine-year-old and seven-year-old to take — and all in public.
Though I used to watch those sweet reunions and swell with patriotic pride and joy, I can no longer even click play. I’m overjoyed of course that families are being reunited and that some parents have the emotional fortitude to pull such public reunions off.
But I just wanted to throw our story out there in case there’s a spouse at home dreaming of the day their loved one returns: Sometimes the private, quiet reunions are just the right thing for your family.