I tend to watch a blog sited called Welcome Home Blog. It features reunions of loved ones after long months of military service. I had always assumed that this was because I am an emotional Latino. However, I recently realized that the emotions portrayed on that blog were identical to mine.
No, I did not go overseas for a wartime deployment. I have been overseas as a missionary, but never as a member of the armed forces, though I have some interesting stories. But, I have experienced some similar emotions.
You see, my sister and I were part of Operation Peter Pan. The details are not important other than to say that my sister and I were separated from our mother and did not know whether we would be reunited. As a result, our reaction to our mother’s escape from Cuba was very similar to what we see in the videotapes.
When our mother first sent us out from Cuba, we did not know what was going on. We did not know that we would end up in an orphanage. We did not know that we would be alone. We did not know that she would eventually escape from Cuba and would be rejoined with us.
When I first arrived in Miami, I thought I would be taken to a relative’s home. After all, that is what our mother had told us. But, when we arrived at the airport we were taken to a Roman Catholic orphanage. Neither of us were expecting that. But, there we were. It would be four months before our mother would escape by boat from Cuba. Sadly,for many others from Operation Peter Pan, they were never reunited from their parents. But, we were reunited with our mother.
I can still remember the first time I saw her again. The nuns took me to a living room and there she was. I was 9 years old. I ran to her, jumped in her lap, hugged her, and started sobbing. I can still remember her asking me why I was crying. All I could think to tell her was that I was happy.
Yes, I know exactly the emotions that are recorded on that website. They are both painful and sweet. But, most of all, they are quite welcome.