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Every parent has the fear of seeing their child for the first time. Would they feel the maternal instinct? Would there be a connection? Navy Lieutenant Michael Lemmons feared meeting his child. But after 8 months at sea, he was ready to take hold his baby for the very first time. No one expected such an incredible moment to unfold.
Most families struggle to balance their work and family life. But it's much more difficult for those who work in the military. 40% of military worker's children are below the age of 6. The tender age is a notorious time of tantrums as children fight to be dependent while still being emotionally and physically dependent on their parents. Unfortunately, those in military families are familiar with saying "goodbye." As mothers and fathers are sent off for combat in hostile environments, "see you soon" becomes a common farewell. Not knowing when or if they will return, each tour of duty is more difficult than the last. When Lieutenant Lemmons finally arrived home, he was worried. He knew his wife was lying.
Although those shipped off pine for their families, their partners suffer greatly. Holding down the fort full of young children with no emotional support can be lonely. And with only one parent to pick up the slack for the second, children fight for their attention. The task becomes exhausting. But Michael Lemmon's wife had it easy. For years, it had just been the two of them. She was used to going months without seeing him. She had friends and family to keep her company. But as the years went by, his absence was becoming more difficult. And for the first time, she was keeping a secret from him.
The Daily Beast
Lt. Michael Lemmons was a dedicated member of the United States Navy. He loved his country. The pride he felt to serve and protect his country was indescribable. However, he loved his family more. After months away from his beloved, he was finally about to return home. He and his 27 crew members boarded the USS John C. Stennis and eagerly awaited the chance to plant their feet on solid ground. The last few days dragged, but the thoughts of holding their children got them through the harsh nights. Holly Lemmon never could have predicted her partner's kind words.
Insight Medical Imaging
Pregnancy is to be celebrated. But when Holly discovered that she was expecting, her heart dropped. She just had 48 hours left with her husband and didn't know when he would return to her. "I think we found out about the baby and that we found out that they moved the deployment up by about five months," she explained. Holly never expected to go through her first pregnancy alone, let alone raise the baby by herself for the first few months! Michael was distraught. He had promised he would be with her through thick and thin, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, which included pregnancy. His vows played through his mind again and again. Had he made a huge mistake?
Holly and Michael were the lucky ones. Over the course of their marriage, he always kept his promise to return home. And throughout the years, he had to expand that promise to his two children, Samantha and Michael Jr. But during his most recent line of duty, Holly gave birth to the newest member of their family, Hunter Ethan. Michael felt the guilt on a daily basis. He was well aware of the hardships his duty put his wife through. And as their vessel approached the dock, his stomach ached. Two scenarios battled in his mind.
Michael wasn't the only one to miss the birth of his child. At one point or another, each member of the USS John C. Stennis was deployed during the final days of their partner's pregnancy. Every crew member was anxious to return home and be reunited with their additional family members. Reporters got wind of the numbers of fathers onboard returning to meet their children for the first time. They were touched by the scenes, describing the men waving from the deck waiting "not for a reunion, but to say their first 'hello'" to their children who had waited so long to meet their other parent.
Samantha Lemmons Facebook
There had never been such a crowd at the Naval Station in Bremerton, Washington. Through the sea of white hats, crying women, and gleeful children, Holly spotted her man. Although heart-wrenching videos of men returning home after some time away go viral on a daily basis, the Lemmon's reunion was special. He was finally about to see the loves of his life and meet his baby boy. And he couldn't hold back his emotional reaction.
USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) (documentary)
Michael's children were sprinting towards him just as Holly noticed him in the distance. "There he is!" They screamed before abandoning her in the crowd. "Samantha, I'll wait here." She called after them. She held HUnter close to her chest as men, women, and children brushed passed. Warmth exuded from her. She shook as her breath became short and fast. Her gaze followed them through the crowd until finally, their bodies collided with his for an embrace.
YouTube/The World Surprise
Michael hugged his children. Thoughts of that exact moment were what got him through the last few weeks. As they release him from their grasp, wiping their cheeks, he cranes his neck to search the faces in the crowd. Then, his gaze settles on Holly. He held his kid's hands and his breath as they marched through the mob. Finally, when he arrived by her side, he paused, breathing deeply as tears leaked from his eyes. "He's perfect. Thank you," he looked up from Ethan and took Holly's face in his hands. Then, he placed his lips on her forehead. She couldn't hide her emotion.
YouTube/The World Surprise
Holly never expected any praise of thanks for her hard work. She was a mother and she had always done everything in her power to take care of her children. She began to weep. She made sure to be brave for her family, but the last few months were hard. She had to care for two children and endure another pregnancy alone. Thankfully, Michael was aware of her admirable actions. Although she didn't need the praise, she was delighted to hear the words from her husband. She could finally take a breath, knowing that all the pressure was about to be lifted from her shoulders.
Michael and Holly held onto one another as Hunter slept snugly between them. Those who witnessed the moment described it as magical. And although Michael will eventually have to return to his line of duty, he's making the most of his time. He's spending every moment with his family, ensuring his wife gets a break, if only for a short time. Four words don't generally have such an impact. But Holly has never felt so lucky to have a kind, caring, and supportive husband. They have refused to let time, distance, or work impact their love for one another. Let's hope we're all as lucky to have a marriage like these two!