Yes, yes you read that correctly… Retirement… NO, not mine but my husbands. You know how they say sometimes life will send you a cureveball when you least expect it?! Well whoever “they” are, actually got it right this time…. because that is exactly what happened. There is a part of me that feels like my time as a police wife is coming to a close… however, this life for us, as a law enforcement family.. its who we are, and a medical retirement wont change that. After you have done something for so long it just becomes a part of you. These past 10 years as a LEO wife has taught me so many things, life changing lessons that I will never forget. We’ve done alot of living through these past 10 years my husband was on the department, we bought our first home, brought two baby girls home from the hospital, weve moved 2 more times, struggled with almost 2 years of infertility and the treatments that come along with that, grown SMP to what it is today from a small side business to an incredible experience meeting so many new people, we’ve lost family members, we’ve gained new friends, weve learned new lessons… and Ive gained so much respect for the man that my husband has become. There have been so many great stories… Ohhhh the sories.. have you even been in a room when a bunch of cops get together?? I learned just how self sacrificing, and hard working my husband is. He dedicated so many long hours and so much of his life was spent serving the community. He left us to go out an work in terrible storms, on special occasions, most holidays, birthdays.. you name it.. he worked during them. It was a lifestyle not many understand unless you live it. We learned how to adjust, how not to really make plans that were set in stone, and how to roll with the punches. We celebrated Christmas on alternate days, and exchanged ” I love you’s” Over the phone on valentines day, and I would try to send photos in a text message from weekend family functions that I attended by myself.. it was hard.. but over time it just became our “normal”.
People asked me often if I was scared when he left for work… and while it would be a lie to say I didnt worry about him every day… you sort of push those thoughts aside, and dont dwell on them, if you’re good at it, you wont think about it too much… but every day, every shift… you still hold your breath a bit, you still wait for the sound of the garage door going up at midnight, and breathe a sign of relief after hearing the velcro pulled from the ballistic vest…. ” shew… our hero made it home again”.
We had to begin teaching our daughter that some things were just different for our family, when she started asking why other children at school had dinner with their dad every night after work, or why he attended church with them on the regular, or how come daddy didnt make it to cookouts. We told her daddy was out protecting us and the community, and that he did this job because he wanted to see change, because making a difference mattered, but that he loved us so very much and wished he was with us during all of these fun events. I will be honest though, its hard to explain those things to a child when you still dont really understand it all yourself.
There were nights I waited up in hopes that he’d soon text me back after knowing he should have been home hours ago, and not being able to call him or talk to him all day if he was on a hostage situation. There were days I wanted him to quit, and other days I loved the sight of him in the uniform. There were days, and weeks even I struggled with holding it all together while he was gone working long hours, and shift after shift, coming home only to sleep. There were nights I prayed until the sun came up when he was gone and I watched Baltimore burning through the Riots. There were times letters of commendations came home in response to selfless acts he had completed, and my heart would swell with so much pride. There were times I was so angry at the world for the senseless hate against plain old men and women just trying to make a difference, but looked at differently for the uniform they wore.
I wish others could see the side of him that I did… he wasnt out to get anyone, or ruin anyones day with a set of handcuffs… he went into work to do his job, and that just happened to be it. He took on a career path just like anyone else, wanting good benefits, a steady paycheck and to feel good about what he was doing. I wish others could have seen the nights he laid awake all night with flashbacks of the horrific things he had witnessed that day, or the text messages asking me how much money was in the checking account because he responded to a call for a child who had no diapers, and needed some food. I still recall a night he and some others put money together to pay for a safe place for a women to keep her children over night when it turned out she had nothing and nowhere to go. The times he pumped gas for elderly gentlemen, and stayed out all night long to search for missing children. THIS man, is a good man… and he is our hero.
These 10 years have taught me how strong I really am… after line of duty injury related surgeries create a situation where your husband is not able to walk or be weight bearing and you have a small child, you gain new strengths. After another duty related surgery had complications and your husband develops a life threatening blood infection and spends a few days in the hospital just a few months after you gave birth to your second baby… you learn things about yourself… you learn you are WAY more capable then you thought before.
The 10 years have also taught me how strong I am not, and that there are times, while humbling, you must ask for help from your tribe, which in turn teaches you what in credible tribe…. group of friends, people in your corner you really do have. They get you, they know you, and they come rushing in to help most times before its even asked for. Especially other law enforcement wives, they are usually the first to show up before family even, because they notice things before anyone else. These women are incredible and have become my lifelong friends, they will forever be a part of my life. Some of them are now my very best friends, women I would have never met if it wouldnt have been for this life of ours.
Ive learned that being a part of something bigger then yourself is more rewarding, and sometimes exhausting.. but mostly rewarding then you will ever know. Ive learned that our little family can get through any struggle life throws this way…. I mean after the doctor tells your husband he will never walk well again, you learn to overcome obstacles, you learn to work together, and lean on your spouse, and the Lord more then ever. I have learned that when a man is given news that his injury will medically retire him long before he was ready to walk away from his career, you have to give him time. News like that, takes a while to process, and many emotions must be worked through. Ive learned that we can make the plans but God really does order the steps, and you really never know whats around the bend.
So as we are just days away from a life changing moment… the type of moments that define you, Ive learned to just go with it, to accept it, to be proud of it.. my husband will always be our hero, he will always be the officer he is today, just in a different form. We will always be a law enforcement family, these people will always be our people… we will stand with them, celebrate with them, and cry with them… they are our tribe. We are approaching this upcoming change with excitement for the future, wondering what adventures are ahead of us, where life will take us and when another 10 years have passed how many more great stories we will have to tell.
So here’s to retirement.. and whatever that might mean.