METHUEN (CBS) — It was the reunion that seemed like it might not happen. “Melissa was over actually in San Antonio and we weren’t sure if she should fly out where I was and drive up here together,” said Army Sgt. Doug Vallant of his wife, Army Pvt. Melissa Vallant. “We weren’t sure about him honestly,” Melissa added. “We weren’t sure he was going to make it.”
Melissa is new to the Army and training in Texas. Her husband, who’s served 11 years, is stationed in Alabama, but about to be moved to Washington. “It’s been really hard. You know you miss them so much and you don’t really realize how much you miss them until they’re gone… and you can’t walk into their room and give them a hug or give them a kiss,” Doug said.
The two have been apart from their children for five months. That’s why what happened Sunday afternoon in Methuen meant so much to them and their kids. “I was thinking I was going to have a blue Christmas because blue means sad,” said eight-year-old James. Just as James and his three-year-old sister Arianna finished singing ‘Blue Christmas’ at their daycare’s annual program, their parents walked on stage.
“I was wondering is that them? Is that really? That can’t be, but it was,” James remembered. Melissa couldn’t believe it was her family reuniting on stage. “It was amazing. I’ve watched those a billion times and you know, you always sit there and cry and you know say oh my goodness, what would happen if I was there. What would I do? It was an amazing feeling,” she said.
As the four sat watching video of the homecoming, they were all smiles. “It’s moving and it’s very deeply heartfelt,” Doug said. “This was my Christmas wish,” James added. “The broken heart was broken but then the heart got fixed back together because the family came back together,” the 2nd grader said.
The director of the children’s daycare, Methuen Community Kindergarten, organized the reunion. She worked on it for two months and was overwhelmed by all the people, including members of the local VFW, who wanted to help. It grew so big it had to be moved to Tenney Grammar School. “It was supposed to be a little surprise and it just turned into everything and Doug and I are beyond grateful for it,” Melissa said.
The time back together is short-lived. Both head back out next week. The children will stay with Melissa’s mother until their next reunion in March. Even a few days together, though, is a gift. “Honestly this was the gift I wanted the most I’m so happy just to have our family together it’s the most important thing to me,” said Melissa.