The words “to protect and serve” have been deep-rooted in American society, and it’s easy to see why.
Every day, thousands of troops and members of the armed forces are sent away from home to work in dangerous locations for up to years at a time.
This certainly is not an easy living. Not only is this lifestyle difficult to manage, but so many lies and secrets are also brought into the mix.
Only the strongest can cope under these circumstances.
Ever since Matthew Wilson was a little boy, he knew that he would join the military.
The idea of defending his country and protecting the people he loved filled his heart with purpose every day.
There were only two things that Wilson loved more than life itself.
One was his work, and the other was his wife.
Even though Wilson loved his wife a lot, they both knew that his job always came first.
His duty took priority. It was a fact his wife had to learn the hard way over and over again, and now, it was causing problems.
Some people would stay far away from a military man because of how dominating their career can be, but for Rebecca, she didn’t have a choice.
You see, Wilson and Rebecca go way back.
Wilson and Rebecca were high school sweethearts.
She was already head over heels before he joined the military, and they got married soon after.
They had children and a beautiful home in suburban California. For the most part, it was a blissful and happy marriage full of love.
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.
The changes were slow but steady.
After five years of their military marriage, Wilson began to notice a change in Rebecca’s behavior.
She became less affectionate and less happy. Something was bothering her, but Wilson had no idea what, and for some reason, he didn’t ask.
Instead, he ignored the signs and the intuition that warned him she was hiding something.
When the couple received news of Wilson’s third deployment, Rebecca grew even more frustrated.
He was to be sent outside of the USS Carl Vinson for an entire six months.
And even though staying in contact with loved ones these days is much easier, it’s still challenging to deal with the long distance.
Broken communication can leave room for a lot of things to go wrong. But nobody could have guessed what was about to happen to this couple.
With the news of his long deployment, Rebecca reached her boiling point. She had enough of his job.
Rebecca packed her things and moved back to her hometown with the kids.
She couldn’t take being on her own for so many days – no, months, at a time.
She had been completely alone with their newborn for over a year before, and now, she was beyond tired.
Wilson had always been a very understanding man, but sometimes it was to his own demise…
He could understand the hardships she had been dealing with and decided to forgive her for needing a break.
He trusted her when she said it was just his job that was the problem, yet he felt a strange sense of uneasiness every time he heard from her.
He should have listened.
Wilson was a child of divorced parents, so he knew how hard that situation could be on a child.
He promised himself that he would never go that route, no matter how hard it got.
But now, he was wondering what he’d actually do if his wife was being deceitful.
In fact, he knew she was.
Nobody likes being lied to, especially in relationships, where deceit is one of the main causes of breakups.
Wilson, particularly, valued honesty and transparency above all things; lies in a relationship were something he just couldn’t tolerate.
He knew he had to fight for his relationship, but what he could have never expected was how much she actually kept 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 was 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 removing herself from his circle of friends? Why was she selling his furniture? Did she really hate him that much?
It was one thing to not 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.
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.
“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.'”
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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.