Editor’s Note: The military spouse who wrote this piece requested to remain anonymous…and we fully support her decision to do so.
You know what reunion porn is, right?
There’s a child, spouse or parent desperately missing a loved one who’s been gone on deployment.
And then they’re reunited.
You see a service member sneaking up behind Santa during the Christmas photos.
Or arriving in a huge box delivered to the front door.
Or running across an athletic field of some kind.
Then there are tears and smiles all around.
Loved ones jumping into each others’ arms.
Civilians love these. For a brief moment, they feel connected to our military experience.
We know better.
We know that reunions are more often in the wee hours of the morning or late hours of the evening.
We know that the makeup we’ve applied will likely have melted and the clothes we pressed will have long been wrinkled.
We know that the hugs and kisses are accompanied by bags shoved in car trunks and an anxious rush to get home and collapse.
And we know too, that the joy of reunification is often followed by that awkward dance we do each time we “meet” again.
But just this once, I want some reunion porn.
I did my part. I held down the home front.
Raised his babies, maintained his house, loved on him from a world away.
Counted down the days patiently.
I want my “reward.”
I want kisses on my children’s heads instead of distant stares in their general direction.
I want to be wrapped in his arms instead of wrapped in the entangled mess he brought home.
I want to sort his duffel bags full of dirty uniforms instead of sorting out how we’re going to manage life in 2 separate households.
I’d send him away and try and do this all again.
But he’s already gone.
After more than 20 years of marriage, 4 children, several deployments and plans for a lifetime together, this writer’s husband came home with more than his gear. He brought PTSD and a girlfriend home too.