Friday, October 21
Home Sweet Homecoming
Although we planned it, knew it would be emotional and such a wonderful experience, nothing could prepare us for the moment our boys actually saw their father for the first time...in a very surprising way.
The boys had no idea that Matt was coming home. Matt came home and we grabbed the camera to head to get Payton from school. We waited for "THE moment"...waiting for Payton to come out of school. I was anxious and excited for him. Several friends were there with us and were anxious to see Payton's reaction.
Ms. Niemi brought the third graders around the side of the building. There was Payton, the last in line. He saw me, but Matt was hiding behind a pillar and couldn't be seen. I said "I have a surprise for you, Buddy." and Matt stepped out. Wow. What a moment. No one could predict Payton's level of excitement. There was a two second delay and then he loudly repeated "DADDY! DADDY!!! IT'S MY DADDY!!" over and over again as he ran and jumped into Matt's arms. It took a few minutes for the shock to wear off while he stayed close to Matt and held his breath. He took a few moments to introduce Matt to Ms. Niemi and a few other people, and then was back at his side.
We left Payton's school to get Max who was at his daycare/homeschooling teacher's house. Payton was so excited to see Max's reaction, but was also very understanding that he needed to let Max have a few minutes with Daddy just like he got.
When we arrived at Liz's house, Matt hid in the back area of the van. I went up to the porch and Liz had Max come outside. I asked him to wait on the porch and then told him I had a surprise for him. I opened the van door and there was Matt. Maxwell's reaction was instantaneous. He ran straight for Matt and jumped into his arms. Where Payton was yelling and announcing his joy to the world, Maxwell was more reserved and private. He just cuddled up and didn't want to be put down.
That night, we spent lots of time as a family. The boys cuddled and hugged their daddy for a long time. There have been a lot of reunions and loving moments in our family, but this was one of the best. The boys showed such free, unrestrained love for their father. Nothing can compare to that. It's a memory I will have for a long time to come.