A reader writes:
The reader who wrote that the children shouldn't be surprised by their parents' arrival home because it adds on more time to their worrying is off base. When my son came home on leave and then permanently from Afghanistan we did not know when his exact date of arrival would be. We were given a window in which to expect him. He called me one day to say his leave would begin sometime in the next two weeks and it would take up to a week to get home. I heard from him 12 days later to let me know he was in Dallas and would land in Houston in about 3 hours.
Same thing when he was due home for good. Just got a call one evening saying he had landed at Ft. Bragg and was safe. I knew he was supposed to be home somewhere in the 30 day window but no idea when.
Waiting for that window is a hard, hard thing. You don't know if they are truly coming. Or if something has happened and they canceled leaves. Or something happened to them along the way. It is nerve wracking and my husband and I had many sleepless nights waiting for "the window". I imagine many spouses here in the states are not telling their children that mommy or daddy is coming home because they don't want to visit this prolonged waiting and worrying upon them. Leave the spouses alone. They are making the best decisions they can in a bad situation.
I've been on many deployments during my career in the Navy and as strange as it might sound to a civilian, they become routine after awhile. The only homecoming my family ever talks about is the one where I walked in the front door a week early, and that includes the homecoming after spending a year in Iraq. If I had called from the airport in Europe to tell everyone Dad was on his way home, that homecoming would have been lost with all the others. It's not about putting it on youtube, it's about making coming home more special than it already is.