Military families can be stationed in different places over the course of several years. Parents and children make special friends and then get transferred, leaving them behind. Families not only watch their loved ones go off to service but they have to say goodbye to people they have bonded with as well.
When one family was required to move, this mom knew it would be hard on her young son, Eli, to leave behind his friend. The two playmates had not seen each other in 17 months. Their mom’s knew it was time to get them together again.
Eli and his mom went to the airport where he would have his surprise waiting. She tells him to stand by the luggage pickup. Around and around the luggage carousel goes, but there is no surprise waiting.
Just then, Eli’s mom directs his attention a little further down. Eli still cannot figure out what she wants him to see. A little blond girl spots him first and shouts his name, “Eli!” Eli looks back at his mom and again at the girl, realizing what is happening.
The little girl is Eli’s friend from the last town his family was stationed at. He cannot believe his eyes. For a second he just stands there and stares at her. When his mom gives the okay to hug her, he wraps his arms around his friend and holds on tight.
Eli pulls back, looks at the girls again, just to make sure it is really her and pulls her in for another hug. The two young friends quietly embrace. Even as young as they are, you can feel the emotion. It is as if Eli was sure he would never see his friend again, and he is not willing to let her go a second time.
After almost a minute and a half, Eli pulls away and smiles at his mom. He turns back to the luggage carousel and glances back at his mom again. She laughs, assuring him that his friend was the surprise and there is not another one.
Children of the military grow up in a unique way. They have the opportunity to see people and places most of us may never see in our lifetime. But, they also have to say goodbye to those people and places they love, far too often. It is a wonderful gift when they can be reunited, even for a short time. This is just another sacrifice military families endure for our country and we should all be grateful. Watch the video here!