Theo has been on the streets for a little over two months now.
People were not joking when they told us this life would be challenging.
It’s the hours and the stress and the steep learning curve.
It’s the fact that when at work, he is 100% married to his work, and unless someone at my house is bleeding out or being rushed to the hospital, there is not any emergency at home that qualifies as a reason for him to be present with us instead of at work.
It’s the strange hours that cause him to go four entire days without seeing our school aged kiddo, and cause my three year old to say “goodnight, Daddy! I’ll see you in the morning!” at 10 am when he leaves for work.
It’s the pressure. If he gets something wrong, it could go to court. It could be someone guilty going free, or someone free being accused wrongly. A mistake could be a criminal at large or people hurt. One step in the wrong direction could lead to flying bullets or being on the gang’s hit list.
It’s the responsibility that comes with carrying a gun and a badge. It’s knowing what his responsibility is off duty and on duty. It’s knowing exactly what would stop a shooter if they came into our church sanctuary. It’s heavy stuff.
It’s seeing domestic violence in all socioeconomic neighborhoods. It’s calling CPS to remove children from deplorable conditions and the arms of their mothers. It’s administering narcan on a fairly regular basis. It’s seeing the worst side of humanity on so many days.
And then it’s coming home to be a husband, a Dad and a foster Dad. It’s facing the brokenness and selfishness and sin within the four walls of our own home.
It really is as stressful as they said it would be.
But there is this new mindset that I have decided to live by, and it’s this:
I am not married to a police officer.
Instead, we are a police family.
Do you see the difference? The first one puts us on different teams. He is the officer, he deals with the police officer things. I am the wife. I deal with the wife things. It causes me to resent him when his officer time cuts into my time. It causes me to resent the job when I see it as taking him away from me. It shows my children that the job is completely separate from us and that we are second tier to his job. It completely separates what he does from who we are as a family.
But when we are a police family? We are a team. We are all in this together. Husband, wife, and children, too. Am I claiming that I do police work? Um, no. Not at all. That is all Theo. But I get to play the role that makes his police life happen. And it’s more than just a supporting role. It’s supporting and cheering and cooking and crying with him. When he is stuck on another overtime, I can see my role as also working overtime on the home front. When he is at work, I’m also at work. And when he is home, we are both home.
I want to raise my kids to see us a police family, too. They know what Daddy’s job is and they need to know that although his job is important, it’s not more important than they are. They also need to know that family sometimes has to make sacrifices and we are all in this job together. When Daddy is working long overtime hours, that means that Mommy needs more help around the house. When Daddy brings home a heartbreaking story after his shift, our kids will know and understand that sin brings so much brokenness into the world. But thanks be to God that we have redemption from our sins and hope from the brokenness of the world!
We are a police family.
* Obviously, this thought process can apply to so many other jobs out there, not just the job of being an officer.