Curiosity invaded my thoughts today after I read a fellow blogger's post on what it's like being married to a cop. I have quite a few friends who hold the title “Cop's Wife”and realized only one of my female coworkers has a husband who works outside of law enforcement. There must be more men behind the badge, who either stay home with the kids or work in the civilian sector.
Law enforcement is a life the entire family has to be on board with in order to make it work. For many years I had the privilege of seeing my brother-in-law become a very successful police officer and work hard to get promoted. His wife and kids worry, wife more than kids, but they know the support at home is what helps keep him safe on the job.
It's a delicate battle we fight, to keep our lives balanced as we bring order and maintain the peace in our communities. There are things we're exposed to in this job that can't be explained to most and we don't want to explain to others. Mainly because you don't want to relive those moments; you don't want the images refreshed in your head that took numerous calls and reports since then to bury. Hubs and I met in the military and in respect to my current job he understands why I don't divulge certain details. Its part of what we keep hidden behind the badge.
You see, the badge I wear fits into the palm of my hand. Its physical attributes are nothing more than a piece of metal that pins to a uniform. What it represents is the true value. The responsibility of the person who wears it doesn’t end when the uniform comes off. That is sometimes the toughest part for families, seeing their loved one out of uniform seemingly “off duty” and still in cop mode. You eventually figure out how to leave work at the threshold, but it’s not a matter of turning it off. You can’t. I can’t. I won’t.
My husband is married to a woman who walks out the front door wearing a target on her chest. He sees the uniform lying in the clothes basket with blood on it (or God only knows what) and doesn’t ask what happened unless I bring it up. He goes to bed alone most nights as I stay up typing reports and finishing work for the next day. We juggle our intimate time together like a circus clown on fire. That’s a fairly accurate description considering our life is a frenzy of circus acts with our boys taking center ring. Some days I half expect to see a monkey riding one of our dogs through the house.
Hubs manages to keep his worry and frustration about my job reasonable. The shift work, over time, dangers of the job, and even a twinge of jealousy are all part of the battle. The balance is our communication. I beam with humbled pride at him for wanting to share my success and goals. Even more I think it drives him to reach his own.
Life behind the badge is not easy. If it were then everyone would live it. The sacrifices and lack of others’ understanding often hinder our relationships with friends, wear on our patience with loved ones, and keep us at a distance with our own emotions in order to do the job. In regards to who’s wearing the badge in the relationship…that doesn’t mean they are the ones who make all the sacrifices. It’s a delicate battle indeed.
Dedicated to all public safety and military families.