From the day that I met him, I knew that the man of my dreams had dreams of becoming a law enforcement officer. He had taken a test that morning for a department back home and I quickly learned this would not be your typical “interview and get the job” type of deal. For the next two years, he worked tirelessly, applying to departments all over the United States, praying that someone would give him a chance. I knew the day would come, I just did not fully understand what was coming with it.
The day he applied for the department that he works for, I knew this was it. Things had gone differently than normal and he had come out of his shell, to say the least. He called me on the drive home and was all fired up about his testing, the interview and just the area in general. We both started preparing for the inevitable, we were moving and life was about to change completely.
I’ll never forget when he called to tell me they offered him the job. The kids and I had walked out of Hy-Vee and were beginning our trek home. I’d been waiting patiently as he was to have his final interview that afternoon. I cried silent tears as he told me the news. Tears of joy, anxiety, and tears of the unknown. We were not only leaving our home, but he would also be leaving very soon for the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, leaving me on my own for the remainder of the school year and summer.
The Academy was tough on all of us. His body and mind were being put to the test and my mental strength was exhausted. We saw him Friday nights-Sunday afternoons and cried more tears as we watched him drive away. But he was surviving and thriving, preparing himself for what was to come.
While he was there, the Dallas PD shootings took place. I sat in front of the TV with more tears streaming down my face. (I bet you’re sensing a theme…there have been SO many tears during this process). I was terrified of what my soon-to-be husband and his friends were entering into. What was happening to the world around us? Had we made a mistake taking this on?
Graduation came faster than we expected and looking back, the fourteen weeks flew. The kids were busy playing baseball, and he was focused on graduating and moving to the next step.
I pinned his badge at graduation and in that moment, I was marrying a police officer.
We moved in August, but he had already been working for a few weeks, commuting back and forth. It’s been an easy adjustment in that aspect. We love where we live, the kids are thriving at their new school and he has enjoyed his first year on the job. Being the wife of a rookie has given us the opportunity to go through everything together. I’ve lived these experiences with him since day one and know how much hard work it takes. I’m also learning A LOT of new terms and lingo that I never knew existed. It’s both fun and terrifying to understand what these men and women face daily.
I have learned to stop reading articles about the police departments from our local and national media. There are always people online saying hurtful things about those who wear the badge. They call them names simply for wearing it, unaware of the families left at home. These officers are husbands, wives, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, daughters, and sons. And as the wife of a LEO, I must step away from those situations before my blood boils and I say something I might regret. (Might being the key word).
The kids enjoy it and our daughter idolizes the profession. She wants to hear the stories and lets everyone know she plans to be a police officer when she grows up. They understand that the world is a scary place, but their pride trumps any amount of fear they might have. They wear their thin blue line shirts at least once a week and make sure all their friends know what their dad does for a living.
We are learning together and separately how to handle this life that we have chosen. I need constant reminders that his work doesn’t end when his shift does, and he needs to be reminded that I took on a lot so that he can do this.
We are not alone, and my heart is with the other blue families all over our nation. Especially during this difficult time in our country. Our officers are doing what they love and sacrificing their lives and time every day for the people of their communities. This job is still admirable and should be treated as so.
I am so proud of him and my heart walks out that door each time he leaves for his shift.
Please, thank a police officer the next time you see one. But never forget about the spouse, children, or other family members who cannot wait for their hero to come home.
This post is one of our 5-part Police Week series. Be sure to check out the others here:
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