Last week Matt finally came home from his six month deployment to Afghanistan. And while our reunion was wonderful, as was his first time meeting Wyatt, the reunion with Ben was not quite as good.
I had been worrying for most of the deployment about how it would be when Ben first saw his dad after six months. Ben’s definitely got some separation anxiety. It isn’t terrible, and he usually gets over it pretty quickly. So while I knew that it wouldn’t be difficult in the long-term (I figured they’d be two peas in a pod again in less than 24 hours), I still worried about how it would go at homecoming. I hated the thought of Ben crying hysterically when Matt held him for the first time, even though I knew it was a near certainty.
Well, when the time came, it turned out I was right. I handed Ben over, and the waterworks started immediately. It probably didn’t help that it was around 1:00 in the morning, either, and Ben was tired and cranky. But as soon as Ben went from my arms to Matt’s, he was crying hysterically and reaching towards me with all his might. We both knew to expect it, but my heart still sank a little. What was worse was the look on Matt’s face. He just looked absolutely crushed. I could tell it hurt him, and it broke my heart seeing the look on his face.
When we finally got into the car to drive home, the mood was not happy and excited. I could tell Matt wasn’t happy, and he was just so disappointed about Ben’s reaction to seeing him. He told me that he knew to expect it, but that it still hurt. “I’m not someone he knows, I’m just some random guy because I’m never in his life,” he said. I wanted so much to be able to make him feel better.
Luckily, the second half of my prediction also came true. The next morning, Matt got up early, got Ben out of bed, and fed him breakfast. This time, there were no tears, and by the end of the day, Ben was just as attached to his dad as he was to me. Now, a week later, he cries when Matt leaves the room, loves horsing around with him, and will walk to him with his arms raised so Matt can pick him up. They might have had a rough start, but thankfully, they got past it extremely quickly, and everything is right in our family again.