It is no question that being a law enforcement officer (LEO) is a demanding and dangerous profession. You work long hours because your shift never ends on time. You miss birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries, sporting events, Church, family dinners because you got home late and/or get called out early. You put your life on the line everyday – on every stop, because you never know if this is going to be the guy that has a gun and is willing to use it. Your line of work demands perfection because if you make a mistake on a stop – people could die. You could die.
You are a hero.
You are a hero because in the face of danger you display courage and will for self sacrifice.
But this post is not about you.
This post is about the unsung heroes — your wives.
Being a LEO wife myself, I know the struggle, stress, worry, and pride that goes into your day-to-day life.
We are fierce.
We are some of the strongest women I know.
We are strong because when our men walk out the door we know in our hearts that they may not come home on time – or at all. Every second is a gift. We do not get the privilege of staying mad. We swallow our pride, put a smile on our faces, and tell our dear husbands that we love him. Because we do. My husband and I make it a point to say “I love you” at the end of every phone call, before we go to sleep every night, and before we leave the house in the morning. We know all to well that our lives our precious and that our love is a gift to be cherished as his father (also a LEO) was murdered while in a foot pursuit while my husband was in high school. Some petty argument doesn’t change our love for each other, so why draw it out any longer than we have to? Life goes on, and we know that better than any one.
We LEO wives know how to live on our own. If the house is dirty -we clean it; no matter what kind of day we had at work. If the laundry needs done, we do it. If there are children, there are PTA meetings, Brownies, Boy Scouts, sporting events, music lessons, the list goes on. And we will be chauffeurs and cheerleaders and we will assure them of Daddy’s love and explain that “he can’t be here because he’s protecting us right now.”
There are nights when we wives will go to bed alone. Whether that’s because he’s working 3rd shift or because he has a mountain of paperwork that has to be done by tomorrow, it will happen. But there is not a sound more comforting than the garage door opening at 3AM, of him sneaking upstair so as not to wake you, and sliding into bed and pulling you in close.
Our lives are ones of unpredictability. We do not get to have normal schedules like the rest of the world and it becomes apparent that the rest of the world doesn’t always realize that. We schedule life around his days off which typically fall in the middle of the week but are always subject to change.
Therefore we do not have the option to be high maintenance. When he calls on his shift, we answer; and if he hurriedly says “Gottagoloveyoubye” and hangs up…that’s okay. When we cook dinner for him because he thought he could come home to eat, but dinner goes cold and we eat alone…that’s okay. When we plan a trip that gets cancelled at the last minute because his days off got changed…that’s okay.
We learn very quickly that while we may not be in law enforcement, we are invested in it. Our lives are steeped in it. Our relationship is based more that just the two of us. It is Lord, husband+wife, post.
Law enforcement officers are our everyday heroes to be sure, but the unsung heroes are the women who stand by them – for better or for worse, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.