O’FALLON – Despite serving six tours, Air Force Colonel Brian Lindsey never had the opportunity to surprise his kids when he returned home until last week.
“I never really had this chance before. It just kind of worked out that I got back [Wednesday] and the first game of the lacrosse season is tonight. My wife had a great idea to surprise them and I said we should do it. But then we had a scheduling conflict with my other kids, with their band concert, so we decided to do it twice. It was awesome,” Brian said.
Brian, who is stationed at Scott Air Force Base, returned from a six-month tour in Kuwait. His children were under the impression he wasn’t due home for at least a few more weeks.
The first surprise of the evening came at the District 90 band concert, where Brian reunited with his kids, Brianna and Connor.
“It was kind of surreal. I didn’t know he was going to be home so I was counting down the days until he was home, and then suddenly he was here. It was really shocking and really happy,” said Brianna.
“I heard they were honoring a veteran and I wondered who it was. Then my dad came out and I was stunned for a second. I wasn’t prepared for anything like that,” said Connor.
Brian’s wife Connie organized the homecoming. She said it was really hard for her to keep from spoiling the surprise.
“My stomach has had butterflies since about two this afternoon, just trying to play it calm at home knowing my husband was next door at the neighbors house. Its been really fun and I’ve been trying to catch myself from not giving anything away, because I’m not normally good at covering things up,” Connie said.
There was some concern it would all run on time, as the concert began later than intended. Additionally, a rainstorm caused their older son Joel’s lacrosse game to begin late. Brian said that as his family has gotten older and become more involved in activities he’s had to adapt his mindset when he returns from deployment.
“As the kids have gotten older, its been harder and harder to make sure that when I come back that I’m dealing with the family’s needs and not just my own. I think I take it a bit more seriously. Before, I was just happy to be home. Now I feel the weight of it all,” Brian said. “I always get asked what I’m going to do with the two weeks off when I get back from deployment, and I say I’m not going to do anything. I’m going to stay home and hang out with my family. The kids are all in school so we can’t really go and do something as a family, in that fashion.”
After it was all finished, Connie said it was a great experience and that she’s happy her husband is back home.
“To watch them run up to him and give him a big hug, its awesome. Just to know my kids are happy is great,” said Connie.