Before becoming a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) wife, I never thought about the people behind the person, behind the badge; other than the occasional, “His/her family must be devastated!” after a tragedy involving a law enforcement officer. I’ve always respected and commended the men and women who put a badge and gun on daily to protect our families, I just never thought deeply about all that means. At least, I didn’t before…
My husband Robert is the absolute love of my life, soul mate, best friend, my life and spiritual partner. We fell quickly, completely, and madly in love at a time when neither of us expected it. It sounds so cheesy (and if you know me, you know I’m far from sentimental and cheesy!), but we complete each other. He and I met, became engaged, and married pretty fast. Looking back I realize that, but we just knew; knew it was right, knew it was true love, knew it was forever. We met at a time when life just wasn’t going well for me. That is putting it extremely mildly, but that’s a post for another time! Robert had gone through a divorce a few years prior, and I was going through one then. The way we met could only have been orchestrated by God. We didn’t think we wanted to be with anyone right then, but God is in control at all times, and He wanted something very different. God won, lol, and we are so thankful He did! Everything about our lives showed we were meant to be together. We both had 2 year-olds. How perfect is that?! Built in playmates, without me having to give birth to twins! Hallelujah! My preteen, who is normally extremely quiet and standoffish around new people, had no problem chatting with him on our first date (it was a family date to the zoo). Kismet!!
Right away I was very proud of him for his career choice, to protect and serve even when many people today hate the badge. He puts his life on the line everyday for our community, not to mention he was (and is) incredibly hot in that uniform. Who can say no to a sexy man in uniform (wink, wink)?! After we were engaged, and eventually married, it hit me even harder how dangerous his job was. Every single news airing, alert on my phone about a shooting, or lots of sirens made my heart stop. I’d dream of that knock on the door telling me he was gone. I love him so deeply, and it terrified me to think of the possibility of losing him. It still does! I knew I’d worry for his safety, but I never thought of the unique problems and situations that go along with being a LEO wife.
As a LEO wife, you are alone at night a LOT! My husband’s department works a month of day shifts, a month of night shifts. Both shifts are 5 to 5. That’s even harder than longer night shift schedules because you can’t get used to the sleep cycles. Once you think you’ve got it, boom, schedule change! I was terrified to be alone at night. I never got to spend any quality time with him because he had to sleep during the day to wake up and go back to work at night. I basically passed him in the halls occasionally! It is really hard to keep preschoolers quiet during the day so Dad can sleep. They try, but they just naturally have oodles of energy! Night shifts were so depressing to me at first. I didn’t know when to cook, I didn’t want to waste a lot of food since he wouldn’t be home, but the kids still had to eat. The kids and I had to go to church alone, family functions alone, school programs alone, doctors’ appointments alone. I didn’t sleep much at all that first year of night shifts. I stayed awake all night and worried. Now he is a detective, so I only have to worry about him at night if he is on call and something happens, or if an investigation is hot (so to speak) and he has to stay on it. I thank God for that every day!
Many things became normal, everyday life once we married. Words like murder, domestic violence, child abuse, rape, and drug related became part of life. My heart aches for him to have to see all of that daily. He is used to it mostly, but sometimes I see it bother him. It’s a lot for him to take upon himself. I’m glad that all of the violence and terrible things haven’t hardened his heart to love and the rest of life, or made him an alcoholic which is so prevalent in the law enforcement community. At times I have to let him decompress a little before starting our family evening together. The things he sees and people he deals with, take a toll on him. There were also items that came to be part of the norm. Kevlar, duty belts, handcuffs, guns, bullets, and radios. Washing blood or mud or brains off of uniforms and boots wasn’t unheard of or crazy anymore. My new normal. I learned 10-codes and to decipher radio mumbling. I finally realized they were using actual words over that radio! HA!
I soon realized that our community wasn’t as safe as I thought, and people like rapists, pedophiles, drug addicts, and murderers lived all around us. Hearing about the calls he had to respond to daily would wake anyone up to the dangers all around in a heartbeat! It scared me, but I also felt so safe having him as my husband. I had never before felt safe in a relationship, so this was new and amazing! He made sure I had a way to protect our family when he couldn’t be around as well. That took some getting used to as well, ha!
The final thing I learned after marrying my LEO was the awesome closeness of the family in blue! His brothers and sisters on the force back each other a million percent. If one is hurting, they all hurt. If one is happy, they all are happy. The same goes with the families of our officers. We know what each others’ lives are like, we know the fear, the pride, the unique challenges. We go to events together if a spouse is working. We laugh together, we cry together. It’s a bond that even many blood families don’t have. I have met my best friends through Robert’s brothers in blue. They are my rocks, and I couldn’t love them more if they were my blood sisters!
Some of the things about being a LEO wife were hard to get used to, some scary, some wonderful. I have adapted, and I wouldn’t change a thing about our life together for anything in the world! My next post will be on how Robert and I deal with the uniqueness of being an officer’s family. Let me know in the comments or by email some of the challenges you have faced as a LEO family, or as the wife of any stressful or first responders
‘ career. If you’d like me to share with you how we deal with any specific situation, let me know! Thank you for stopping by, and I encourage you to make it a regular thing!! Follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram so you don’t miss a post!