Homecomings are a very big deal for military families. When our spouses leave, we start counting the days until we'll see them again. When the day finally arrives for them to come home, we want everything to go as perfectly as possible. Sometimes homecomings don't go as planned. I thought I had a bad homecoming story, but when I read Angry Mom's story posted on the R&R: A Family Affair thread this morning, I was stunned. I decided to turn her comments into a stand-alone post. Here's what happened, in her words:
I thought I had handled this correctly, but then yesterday I got slammed again and you are the only folks who will understand. My husband was coming home for Christmas for R&R during a one year deployment - we hadn't seen him for seven months. He wanted to surprise the kids at school, or at least at home, and wanted no one else in the family to know, so not only was I keeping the arrival date a secret, knowing the military I knew the date was fluid so I wasn't planning on any specific date. He ended up telling his mother he would be home for the holidays (and didn't tell me that he had told her - I found out when she became insistent for information about his arrival). My Mother-in-law continually called me for the date, and I honestly told her I really had no idea of the exact date. She wanted to know, and begged me to tell her when I found out. I feel terrible, but I didn't want to tell her and I knew I was being selfish...after all, I was keeping this a secret from everyone, and then find out my husband told his parents, so the secret is out - no big deal, it's only his mom and dad, right? So I wrestled with myself, and said to myself "they love him too, and it's only to meet him at the airport, stop being selfish". So I decided that when the call came, I would call his parents so they, too, could greet him at the airport. I told my MIL as soon as I knew i would call her, and she told me call anytime, and don't worry - we only need an hour's notice.Wow. Just wow.....
You can't believe what went on, but the bottom line is that husband's sister went through security at the airport to greet him, which then automatically took away our chance to greet him at the gate as there is a policy of one guest or one group per military passenger (we had to wait out in the lobby - about a 15 minute delay in greeting him) My husband realized immediately what had happened, but we didn't say anything to anybody, until my MIL kept rubbing it in. I tried to not let it bother me, but MIL kept reiterating how "sad it was that the children weren't there to greet their father, you're always late for everything, etc." and then my husband let her have it - he told her sister caused the problem and she refused to believe him. I told him in the scheme of life this was nothing, we should just let it go, don't worry, etc., but oh gosh was I upset ( I was in tears at the airport when I realized what she had done).
We have a wonderful holiday visit with everyone, all is well, husband returns to theater, and then the other day I am at the bank when a mutual friend of the family stops to chat. Very happy to hear about husband making it home for the holidays, great to see him, all is well, and what a shame you weren't there to greet him and thank goodness SIL was there so he didn't arrive to an empty airport. I was stunned, and am still stunned, and am angry and just needed to vent to all of you because I know you will understand, and I can't talk to anyone else about this. And, aside from my anger and frustration, I am also concerned...my husband is in a very highly-confidential position - how did my SIL get through security and go not only to the gate but right to the door of the plane to greet him!?!?!? Lots of hutzpah (always!) but I can't believe this happened! The four kids and I could not even approach the hallway at the airport as we saw Daddy walking towards us due to security! SIL knew flight number, but had to have airport verify my husbands' name on manifest as a passenger -she's married, and doesn't even have the same name as his anymore, so they gave out that information to someone who didn't have any proof of relationship, didn't have a military ID (as I and all our children do) and while she certainly didn't look like a threat, do any of the people look like threats? Am I wrong to be angry? Am I wrong to have wanted to be the first person to kiss my husband when he got home (or maybe second or third or fourth or fifth after the kids got to him? but still right there in the big pile!) Am I wrong for being upset at being blindsided by that family friend? Thank you for listening, and if you have any advice for me, thank you for that as well.
For those of you who may be unaware of the TSA airport policy for family members, see here.
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