Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Xmas time! Let's watch reunion porn.

I know it's hard not to watch reunion porn these days. With the end of the war in Iraq and the holiday season upon us, the news stations are all but creaming their panties at the opportunity to show surprise reunions with wee sprogs who don't realize their shock, their joy, and their pain are being televised for the titillation of the American public.

It's pretty rare that the reunion clips come with the appropriate dose of reality that puts the necessary edge back on the story. Most of these news broadcasts include a lot of sentimental and emotional angst, even by the newscaster who's all verklempt. I love Robin Meade, but she's been all up in my shit with this lately, as reporters rush to cover all the tearful, joyful reunions.

But look at this one in particular: Sprog Surprised by Returning Dad. Imagine what that moment is like for that little girl. Reunion is as upsetting as it is joyful. It signals the start of a very rough time in those family members' lives. But all that heavy stuff is rarely covered. It gets at best some lip service, as it did on today's broadcast.

There are so many things wrong with reunion porn. Worst is that it could be easily fixed. If the clips didn't focus on the tears, the hugs, the smiles, the squeals, but gave them their moment in the midst of the larger story--the pain of all that the service member missed, the pain of all the family missed, the months of soul-sucking fear, the stress, the relief, the new stresses, and OMFG the unholy reintegration--these clips wouldn't serve only to titillate audiences. As they stand, they make light of the military family experience. They make light of our children's very particular and very hard struggles. And most of all, they make light of our sacrifice by only revealing a veneer of the happiest moment.

I say fuck reunion porn. The only thing it has to offer is moments of hope and promise for milfams at home, experiencing those horribly bleak moments when you can't even imagine that the separation will ever end, when the stress has you at the snapping point, and all you want to do is curl up and cry. Then these are good. Then they remind you that there is an end.

Otherwise, they're worth about as much as horse shit caked to the bottom of your Jimmy Choos. Sure, the shit highlights how awesome your shoes are, but it's still horse shit, and now it's all over your shoe. You're welcome.

Dear civilians reading this: Let this be a reminder. Just because they're home doesn't mean all goes back to normal and life is good again. Just because they're home doesn't mean they don't still need your support. Just because they're home doesn't mean their work is done and their families will never again suffer their absence.

Keep that in mind, will you?

Blessed Yule, everyone.

3 comments:

digtoesin said...

I burst in to tears watching that... It just... shoot this Mama heart and somehow gave voice to all the fears I have for my kiddos with this lifestyle and this homecoming. That sweet baby just so overwhelmed by our need to have this special moment. Your thoughts here are so true and so important.

Val

New Mommy Confessions said...

This stuff just makes me cry. Buckets.

It isn't just seeing this and knowing that comforting feeling of a loved one back home. It's a reminder of everything.

I see reunion porn and it reminds me of the pain we just went through. The pain that is coming next. I remember trying to explain to my daughter why Daddy isn't home. I remember the day he came back to us.

You're absolutely right... When civilians watch this sort of thing they are only seeing the good happy endings. They don't see or hear about the rest.

I'll keep watching these though, because it's a reminder of what we've gone through and a hope for our own happy ending.

Sailor Jane said...

My squadron is a reunion porn ruiner. This Line Rat his wife had a baby. And instead of being sent home like all the other new dads did, he decided to stay in country. The media made him get off the plane first and did not allow anyone to come together until they got the footage of this guy meeting his new baby. Well, this dudes kind of a dick. There was no hugs or kisses. When the media asked him how he felt he said "This dumb bitch got knocked up knowing we have 5 kids. I stayed in the sandbox because once you see her squeeze out one, you've seen her squeeze out all. I mean, its not like that shit changes." Or my mentor, turns out I met him on homecoming. Since I was the only Airman in the squadron, and the booter as well, I got stuck with the shit jobs. Like babysitting every single Navy brat in the hangar while setting up everything for the FRG. So AM2's wife, AO2, shows up and says "I have to go to work." with this air of self importance and no shit hands me her sprog and shoves her Mother in Law into me. And poof, she disappears like a fart in the wind. So I got a baby on my hip, rocking two newborn's bassinet with the tip of my boot, and making sure 10 toddlers and schoolage kids don't get into danger. The oldest one was six. Someone give me a cookie. But anyway. The little is the sweetest thing since Maple syrup and is the only one who behaves. Granny is awesome. She even takes the baby from me when I'm called to help move tables or chase a kid off a jet. So minutes before the folks come home, AO2 shows up. And bam, hangar doors open, I'm sent out to distribute flowers, and as soon as the shit hits the fan I dip out to my shop. But Granny pulls me aside and says "This is my son" wiping the tears out of her eyes. I start to say hello but AM2 cuts me off. "Get the fuck out of my way, I don't care who you are, I'm trying to go home." Yeah. And we're like family now. 0_o. He swears he doesn't remember, but he turns red when I remind him. I have no clue if he said that to anyone trying to shove a camera in his face, but to be honest, that sounds like him.