Soldiers have one of the hardest lines of work in the world. Not only do soldiers risk their lives to protect their country on a routine basis, but they also sacrifice many other aspects of their lives. Putting oneself in the midst of war is a dangerous decision and this is why soldiers require a lot of training to ensure they will be able to withstand the hardships of war. If fighting in a war is not hard enough, being far away from home and missing the people you left behind makes life even harder.
Soldiers are often stationed far away from their families in order to carry out their roles. This means that their families have to adjust to life without them for long stretches of time and that can take a major toll on their lives. More often than not, soldiers are deployed for months at a time, which means that many things may change at home while they are away. This often means they have to adjust to a whole new environment when they return home.
Most of us have seen the videos of American soldiers returning from tours of duty and reuniting with their loved ones, whom they haven’t seen in a long time. Many of the videos consist of soldiers surprising their wives at home or going to their children’s schools. Their children often become emotional at the sight of them and jump into the arms of their fathers or mothers.
These videos tug on our heart strings as we see families reunite before our eyes. In some instances, many parents have missed out on entire periods of their children’s development. Especially in the case of infants or toddlers, a lot of milestones can be missed if a parent is absent for months at a time.
When one soldier got sent to the other side of the world with his unit, he was heartbroken that he had to say goodbye to his wife and daughter. He was sent to Kuwait and knew that he would be away for 6 months and he was counting down the days until he could hold them again.
But when the day finally arrived and he arrived at the airport after his tour of duty was over, he saw his wife standing at the Arrivals gate holding another baby. The soldier was completely overwhelmed and he could not believe his eyes…
Scott Cartwright and his wife Elizabeth reside in Ohio with their daughter, Nora. Their family photos tell a story of a couple very much in love, in particular this one, from their wedding day. As it can be extremely hard when a parent has to go away for work trips, when Scott’s Job took him away from his family, it was very difficult for both him, his wife and their daughter to find a new balance for their family unit.
Serving his country
But why did Scott have to leave his family? The hard-working family man is a sergeant in the National Guard in the State of Ohio. As such, Scott has to travel all over the world in order to fulfill his duties and serve his country. Even though Scott loves what he does, it is still hard for him to leave his wife and young daughter at home when he has to go away on duty.
Scott packed his bags and said goodbye to Nora and Elizabeth at the end of 2016. He was headed to Kuwait on a mission with his unit, which is part of the 121st Refueling Wing. It was estimated it would take 6 months to complete, which would mean Scott would be away from his family for a very long time. Although Elizabeth did not want her husband to go, she knew in her heart he was doing the right thing.
Serving his country
Elizabeth was nevertheless heartbroken that her husband was leaving for so long, though she was very proud of the work he was doing. She said in an interview to ABC news, “He’s doing a really great thing serving his country.” But still, it was very hard for the Cartwright family to cope with Scott’s absence and they missed him more and more every day. Elizabeth was counting down the days until she would be able to see her husband again.
A big surprise
Elizabeth and Nora we eagerly waiting for Scott to return from Kuwait and they were ecstatic when the big day finally arrived. However, when the two went to the international airport in Columbus, Ohio to pick him up, they were coming with a special someone Scott had never seen. Scott was excited to see his wife and daughter, but Nora was not the only daughter waiting for him at the airport. So what did Scott say when he saw the newest member of his family?
His new daughter
We can only imagine the excitement that Scott was feeling when he stepped off of the plane to go meet his family. When he showed up in the arrivals area, Scott saw his wife Elizabeth standing there with Nora and a little baby girl. Scott had never seen this baby before, but he was nevertheless beyond excited to meet her. With her big white bow and apple cheeks, this cute little arrival was about to change his life.
Before Scott went off to Kuwait, Elizabeth was already many months pregnant and she gave birth to her second daughter only a few months after Scott had left. By the time Scott returned home, his new daughter, Jacqueline Eloise, was already 4 months old. Although Scott had missed the birth of his daughter and the first few months of her life, he was just happy that he was finally able to see her.
A magical moment
The moment of the first meeting between Scott and his daughter was caught on camera and was a magical moment for all of those who witnessed it. Scott was still in his National Guard uniform and he had just gotten off the plane with his unit. He ran straight to his wife and kids and immediately reached out to hold his newborn infant. Scott admitted later that it was a surreal experience.
After the emotional meeting, Scott spoke to ABC News and states, “I don’t even have good words for it. I love Nora, my first one, more than anything. Honestly, when I was over there, in my head I was like, ‘How could I possible love somebody else as much as I love Nora?’” Thankfully, Scott fell in love with his second daughter right away and they had an instant connection.
Love at first sight
Scott was worried about meeting his child whom he had never seen before and he confided in his team in Kuwait about his worries. Scott admitted, “I was worried about this. I was talking to my team about this. But when I got to hold Jacqueline for the first time- and her and her mother have the exact same eyes- I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I see now.’” Scott had no reason to be worried as he loved his new daughter as much as his first.
Even though Scott had just returned home from a potentially dangerous mission, he admitted that the moment he met his new daughter was the most overwhelming moment in his life. “I had tunnel vision, and I couldn’t see,” he admitted later. “Probably maybe a dozen people from my civilian job came there, and a dozen people from my church came there, and I was there for ten minutes before I even noticed any of them.”
What made the already emotional moment even more special is that the couple never thought they would be able to have children. Their first daughter Nora was actually adopted after the couple discovered that they had infertility issues. They never thought that Elizabeth would be able to conceive a child so it was a happy surprise when they found out that she was pregnant. The couple were overjoyed, which is why it was even harder for Scott to leave.
Elizabeth said, “We didn’t think we were able to have kids of our own. We adopted Nora when she was seven months old and finalized her adoption in July, and he left right after that. It was right after Nora’s first birthday that we found out we were pregnant.” The couple were so excited that they were able to conceive a child after years of trying and they could not wait to welcome their newest addition.
Because Jacqueline was born while Scott was stationed in Kuwait, his only interaction with her was over Skype. Thankfully, video technology exists and Scott was able to witness her birth even though he was not in the room. Scott was on the other side of the world, however, he was able to help his wife through the process as much as he could and she his newborn baby. Although it was still hard for the family to be apart, at least they could see each other’s faces.
Witnessing the birth
Scott felt that he could not miss the opportunity to witness his child’s birth, however, he could not leave his post in Kuwait to return home. The couple had to find an alternative way for Scott to be able to be in the room. Elizabeth told ABC news, “We had clearance to have him on Skype at the hospital. He called my tablet while we were there, and my mom was in the delivery room holding up the tablet.”
Managing on her own
With her husband thousands of miles away, Elizabeth was left to care for her toddler and newborn child. Scott gives her a lot of credit for managing two children by herself while he was away. He said, “What I did was easy compared to what Elizabeth and my girls went through,” he stated. “I had one thing to do over there. That’s all I had to do. She’s been alone with Nora and my new girl Jacs.”
Adjusting to life
But now the hard part was over and Scott was reunited with his wife and family. The father was now holding two children in his arms instead of one and he had to adjust to his new life at home. While it must have been difficult to come home to a whole new family dynamic, Scott was just excited to be home with his family and he was enjoying the first moments with his new baby.
Taking a break
Scott had earned himself a well-deserved break that he could spend with his family before he returned to his civilian job. When Scott is not on missions with the National Guard, he works as a wildlife officer. His wife said, “We’ll have some vacation time and just enjoy each other.” Elizabeth continued on to say that the family planned to hang out at home and enjoy each other’s company. “We have nothing big planned, because where can you go with a newborn?”
Happy to be home
Although the family did not have plans for an exciting trip, it did not matter to Scott just as long as he was with his family. He stated, “I’m just spending as much time with them as I can. I’ve got eight or nine months’ worth of a honey do list,” referring to the probable list of chores He’ll receive from his wife. We bet Elizabeth was happy to hear that and that she, Nora and Jacqueline are happy to have Scott home.