To Serve And Protect
It is hardly surprising that the concepts of serving and protecting are so deeply ingrained in American culture. Thousands of military personnel are deployed every day, spending months or even years away from their families to serve in perilous regions.
Even without adding lies and secrets to the mix, this way of life is challenging.
He Knew What He Wanted
Matthew Wilson has always known he was going to enlist in the military. His daily sense of purpose was fueled by the thought of defending his nation and safeguarding the people he cared about.
Wilson only had two loves in life, apart from life itself. The first was his job, and the second was his wife.
Number One Priority
Wilson cherished his marriage to his wife, but they both understood that his career always came first. His obligation came first. His wife repeatedly had to learn this reality the hard way, and now it was becoming a problem.
Because of how dominant their profession may be, some people would keep far away from a military man, but Rebecca had no choice. Wilson and Rebecca actually go way back.
A Long History
Wilson and Rebecca dated throughout high school. Before he joined the military, she was already madly in love, and they wed soon after. They lived in a lovely suburban California home with their kids. Overall, it was a wonderful, joyful, and loving marriage.
But when Wilson came home from his second tour, he suddenly noticed his career was really starting to have an effect on Rebecca. A bad one.
A Change In Behavior
The changes were gradual yet constant. Wilson first noticed a difference in Rebecca's behavior five years into their military marriage. She started acting more distant and unhappy. Wilson didn't inquire as to the source of her discomfort, even though he didn't know what it was.
Instead, he disregarded the clues and his gut feeling that suggested she was keeping something from him.
Being Deployed, Again
Rebecca was even more irate when the pair learned that Wilson was going on his third deployment. For the full six months, he was to be stationed away from the USS Carl Vinson.
And even if it's much simpler to stay in touch with loved ones today, dealing with distance is still difficult. Numerous negative outcomes may result from poor communication. Nobody, however, could have predicted what would eventually occur to this pair.
She's Had Enough
Rebecca's temper flared up when she heard of his protracted deployment. She was done dealing with his demanding job. With the kids by her side, Rebecca packed everything and returned to her hometown.
She was unable to handle spending extended periods of time on her own. She had previously spent more than a year by herself with their newborn, and she was now really worn out.
Taking A Break
Wilson had always been a very compassionate person, but occasionally that had been to his own detriment.
He chose to pardon her for wanting a break since he could relate to the struggles she had been going through. He believed her when she said that only his job was the issue, but every time he heard from her, he experienced an odd feeling of unease. He should've paid attention.
Wilson, whose parents separated when he was a young child, was aware of the difficulties such a circumstance may cause. No matter how difficult it became, he made a pledge never to go down that path.
He was now considering his actual course of action in the event that his wife was being dishonest, though. He was even certain that she was.
Nobody likes being misled, especially in partnerships where miscommunication is one of the major reasons for divorce. Wilson, in particular, placed high importance on honesty and openness; he just could not accept lying in a relationship.
He was aware that he needed to fight for his relationship, but he had no idea how much she genuinely withheld from him.
Wilson had no clue what his wife was up to, but moving and keeping secrets were definitely bad signs. After all, he didn't do anything wrong.
And now that he was deployed, he had no idea how to figure it out. All he knew was one thing: he had to get to the bottom of the issue.
He tried to reason with himself that there are certain levels of dishonesty. After all, there are bad lies, and there are little white lies. If it were the latter, then things wouldn't be so grim.
Perhaps it wasn't so serious, and Rebecca could be forgiven. But what she had been up to this time was such a shock that it defied belief.
A few months passed when Wilson got a message from one of his close friends. He explained to him that she was acting strange and wouldn't really hang out with them anymore.
Something was wrong. She shut herself off from his friends, and not only that but she was caught selling some of Wilson's furniture! Wilson's heart pounded.
What was she doing? Why was she removed herself from his circle of friends? Why was she selling his furniture? Did she really hate him that much?
It was one thing not to hang out with his friends so much. After all, they were his friends, not her friends. But the way his friend spoke about it, it sounded really fishy.
Despite Wilson's incredible love for his wife, he was starting to become anxious and knew something was very wrong. As the date approached for him to come back home, he decided to confront her immediately.
Although he had already made a decision to find out the truth, he was terrified to hear what she would have to say. And rightfully so.
Master Plan Ruined
Rebecca had been giving Wilson the silent treatment. They would still video call and check in during his deployment, but she didn't say anything to Wilson about what he heard she'd been doing.
She had no idea he had heard about her strange behavior. He was just waiting for the right moment to confront her about it.
Not The Best Way
"I thought about it for a few minutes, and I was like, 'You know, this isn't how I want to tell him – in an email,'" Rebecca claimed.
She knew the truth might have been too much to deal with while he was still deployed. "I emailed him back and just said, 'I just miss your voice.'"
Emails Back And Forth
Busy with work and being a mom, Rebecca didn't have much time to talk to him over the phone, so they'd email each other instead.
The conversations were short and sweet. From an outsider, nothing would have seemed out of the ordinary. However, there was a big elephant in the room, and Wilson kept postponing addressing it.
The thing is, the vague emails didn't soothe Wilson's worries at all. Still, kept trying to repress what his gut was telling him. There was something he needed to talk over with Rebecca. But not now.
Then, Wilson's team got orders to go head-to-head with one of the world's most powerful nations, and Rebecca's plan was crumbling right in front of her.
Rebecca later admitted that it was painfully hard to keep this life-altering news a secret, and more so when Wilson's deployment had been extended.
He had to serve a whole other month more in service as the USS Carl Vinson was ordered to make a show of force along the coast of North Korea. For Rebecca, it was just another reminder of why she kept secrets.
While Wilson was overseas fighting for and protecting his country, Rebecca was at home doing something no one could ever have predicted.
Rebecca always used to play by the book. She was reliable, predictable, and sometimes, even a little boring. But staying at home alone for too long can change a person, and she was perfect proof of this.
When Rebecca got the news about his extended deployment, she couldn't bear it. After all she had gone through for all those years, now this?
"I got emotional about it, and I was wondering, 'Should I tell him? Would I feel guilty if something happens and he doesn't know?'" Rebecca recalled. "I went back and forth about it."
She didn't know what to do as she weighed the options. Should she tell him while he was still on the field, or should she wait for him to come back?
Perhaps the best thing she could do for him now was not do anything to distract him from his work. He had enough on his plate as it was.
No Way Back
She knew that what she had to tell him would hurt his performance and maybe even get him hurt if he was too distracted. But for her, she made up her mind, and she didn't really care what anybody else had to say.
She had cooked up a plan of when and what to tell him and decided to stick to it.
Eventually, after months that felt like years for both parties of the couple, it was time for Wilson to come home. Both Wilson and Rebecca thought that moment would never come, but it did.
As he approached the boarding exit, large crowds had swarmed around to welcome home their sailors. And naturally, the most important person in Wilson's life was among them too.
Rebecca Was There
Rebecca was among this crowd, ready to execute her plan despite all the people around. She used the kids as distractions as they went up to kiss their dad, who embraced them teary-eyed.
Rebecca had a homemade "Welcome Home" sign which she placed strategically. Meanwhile, Wilson was utterly clueless about what his wife was really up to.
Lost For Words
Wilson looked at her nervously as the kids finished kissing and hugging their dad. He turned to approach his wife, as she looked away expectantly.
He had no idea what was coming would leave everyone staring. As soon as he was close enough, she dropped the sign. What Wilson saw left him lost for words.
Wilson was completely confused. He had no idea what had just happened. "My heart was racing," Rebecca recalled.
"I stood back and let the kids run to him. I hung back for a minute, and then he reached into me to hug me, and then I dropped it. He just stood there in shock. He didn't know what was going on."
What Was Going On?
Wilson couldn't fathom what was really going on either: he even thought this was some kind of prank. To say he was surprised would be an understatement.
After all his suspicions, all the possibilities he entertained in his mind, never in a thousand years could he have imagined something like that. Was it really possible? But how? Was he the father?
Rebecca stood back so she could continue with the little ruse she had prepared for her husband. As Wilson turned to hug his kids, Rebecca was there to one side, holding a sign that read, "Welcome home, baby daddy."
However, it wasn't the sign that was the big deal. The big deal was hidden right behind the sign, and Rebecca was about to uncover it.
Behind The Sign
As Wilson is a father, he didn't think much of the sign. He didn't think it meant anything in particular. "Do you like my sign?" Rebecca said to her husband. Wilson looked at the sign for a few seconds, confused.
But right then, before he could even utter a response, she dropped it to the floor, revealing her huge baby bump.
"Is It Real?"
Wilson had no words. "She said, 'Surprise!' and dropped the sign, and I was confused," Wilson said. At first, he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"And then I actually poked her belly because I wasn't sure if she was playing a trick on me or not," he reminisces with a smile. But clearly, she was not.
"There were a lot of thoughts going through my mind. When I found out it was real, I was extremely confused, so I asked, 'Is that real?' to be sure, then hugged her because it was the only thing I could think to do."
But what about the tension between them? What had been all that about? Would it come to an end now?
Wilson was still in shock. Everyone around him was laughing and cheering them on, but again, he had his doubts.
"I was never mad at you or acting weird," Rebecca explained to him. "Well, I was acting weird, but only because I needed to hide this bump," she clarified. However, Wilson still had some questions.
“Is It Mine?”
A good ten seconds after Rebecca uncovered the big surprise, Wilson hesitantly poked Rebecca's belly and asked a few questions that were boiling inside his head.
"Is that real? Nuh-uh!". "Wait, that's mine, right?" he said, half joking, half serious. But how was that even possible? How could Rebecca have conceived while Wilson was deployed?
Rebecca got pregnant just the week Wilson left to fulfill his duty. "I found out the week after he left. I didn't believe it," Rebecca said.
"I took the pregnancy test again, and I was like, 'Oh no way.' I was excited about it and I emailed him, and I told him to call me as soon as he gets a chance."
Keeping It A Secret
But then, she thought twice. Maybe it wasn't the best thing to do right now. She didn't want this incredible news to interrupt his duty and make his leaving us harder.
So eventually, she made a decision. She would keep it a secret from her husband until he had completed his duty and returned back home.
As it turned out, the couple had not planned on having a fourth child. This surprise was more than unexpected, but they were excited beyond belief.
Rebecca even described that Matt "was only home for a short time" between his deployments, so this was a huge shock. However, there was still one more thing brewing, and this, too, would give Wilson another considerable blow.
Rebecca had become a master when it came to disguising herself; still, she recalled it being the most challenging thing ever.
Every time she would go out with friends or family, they would all want to take photographs, and of course, Rebecca didn't let them take pictures of her baby bump; she didn't want to spoil the surprise.
Rebecca had to get creative to disguise her pregnant stomach in the pictures she would send to her husband or post on social media. "I would always use the kids to cover my belly," she said.
"My best friend always does Snapchats, and she would put emojis in front of it just in case to throw him off."
"I wanted to share the excitement and joy with him about getting a fourth baby. He definitely wasn't expecting it," she said. "Being pregnant is such a fun experience, and not being able to share it with him was really hard.
"I was working the whole time and taking care of the kids, so I had to push through everything." Rebecca did feel bad at times about keeping the secret, but still, she knew she wanted to tell him face to face.
Rebecca had one more surprise, and this time she had planned on the surprise being for both of them, together. "I decided I'm going to document it with weekly belly pictures for him so he wouldn't miss it." And that's just what she did.
"I can't believe she was able to keep the secret for as long as she did," Wilson said.
"We tell each other everything, so I know it was really hard for her," he also added. "I'm sure every day she wanted just to tell me."
"But still, I'm really happy she waited because it was an awesome homecoming surprise, and we got to find out the gender together the day after I got home."
A Baby Girl!
Friends and family gathered for Wilson's homecoming party, and while everyone was gathered, they also revealed the baby's gender – she was a girl!
"I was extremely happy with the news because we both wanted a fourth child, and since it is our last I was happy she did something memorable and fun," says Wilson with a smile.
He was not set to deploy until January, and the due date of the baby was for August. Making the timing impeccable for this family to be reunited again.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.