The family’s dinner took an emotional turn as soon as the “waitress” walked into the room.
The military parent’s work duties often cause difficulty for themselves and their families. No one wants to be separated from their loved ones, and sometimes they’re unable to keep in touch. Especially for children, this can be really hard to cope with. It’s hard to miss your parents so much.
The challenges and emotional stakes can vary depending on how old the child is. With age, the child begins to understand better why their parents are leaving, and the risks associated with their parents job may begin to cause more stress.
One military mom knew that when she came back from deployment, she had to make a special splash for her son.
Master Sergeant Teresa Black had been away for a long time. She and her son, Rider, are very close, and she wanted to make up for her absence to him. Teresa is a pillar in Rider’s life, often being the primary person he goes to for advice or help with something. Because of this, their separation during her deployment was really hard on him.
“I had never been away from her for that long of a period of time, ever in my life. She’s always been right there for 21 years.”
Being away from loved ones is hard enough as it is, but Teresa also missed some major life events. In addition to Rider’s 21st birthday, she also had to forgo her daughter’s wedding. Missing out on these experiences were painful for all members of the family.
They decided that the family’s favorite restaurant was the perfect location. Teresa hid in the kitchen for up to an hour while her family filed in and got down to ordering food. The anticipation was building for her, but Rider still had no idea what was about to happen.
With that one line, spoken by his mother as she walked out of the kitchen, Rider knew she was back. Seeing her for the first time in 8 months, he jumped out of his chair in the middle of a group photo.
His excitement was so palpable he ran to his mother and scooped her up in a big hug, and they stayed hugging for a while. The whole reunion was luckily caught on tape, so now we can all see mother and son’s delight.
His mom’s deployment wasn’t hard just because of their separation. At age 21, Rider is old enough to know or guess at many of the risks associated with his mom’s job, which just lends itself to worry while they are separated. Because of the nature of her job, she isn’t able to divulge everything about what her daily life looks like while she’s away, so being home is another way that Rider gets to be assured that she is safe and well.
Teresa says their first conversation was as emotional and touching as you would imagine:
“At first, all I could say is ‘I know, I know, I know’ and all he could say is ‘You’re home, You’re home, You’re home.’”