As the title of this blog includes the three things I am most proud of in my life- raising my sons, being a law enforcement wife and my writing career- I have decided to dedicate one weekly post to each of those three things. Today, Sunday, will be "Badges" day.
When I met my husband all those years ago, he let me know right away that it was his dream to be a municipal police officer. It was a bit of trek down the path but a decade ago he realized his dream and we became a law enforcement family. I never gave any thought as to how his career choice would affect me beyond the fact that he would work nights,weekends and holidays- not so different from the schedule we already kept with his previous job. When I look back now though I see that I am a completely different person.
People often ask me questions about what it is like having a husband work nights. They want to know if I am afraid of something happening to him and someone once asked me if he had a lot of life insurance. Occasionally, someone will comment on how much I have changed over the years and wonder if his job is the reason. I used to get upset over these questions. I mean, of course I worry about him. All night long in fact and life insurance is a necessity for all families. Now though, as a seasoned wife, I understand the sort of curiosity some might have about the job. I guess you could say I have mellowed over the years in a lot of ways. On the other hand, I have become a lot less mellow.
Prior to the job I never worried about where I parked my car. Any old spot would do. Now I look for parking spots near street lights that I can pull through or back into. I wouldn't say I am afraid of the things that lurk in the dark I am just much more aware of them now.
I used to be trusting and rather naïve, I guess. Now, I trust no one. My kids don't hang out in the neighborhood without one of us keeping an eye out and they are forbidden to go in anyone's house that we don't know. I like our neighbors, I feel fairly safe here but I don't trust a soul. That is probably one of the biggest changes.
There is evil in the world. I don't dwell on it but I am overtly aware of it. We don't let the kids hang out online. They don't have gaming systems with internet connections and I view all strangers in the "stranger danger" kind of mode. Like I said above, I trust no one- especially people in the virtual world.
Growing up I can't imagine that we ever really locked our doors. Now, when I go to bed or leave the house our place is locked down like a fortress. There are nights I don't sleep at all because I am listening to the sounds of the dark to make sure the kids are safe and no one is lurking beyond the security lights. I suppose I feel a lot less safe in the world now that I know a little bit more about it.
Sometimes I really miss the innocence of my youth but I know I can't go back, in part because the world is a different place now than when I was young. It was okay to leave the doors unlocked then- home invasions were virtually unheard of. The fact is the world has changed- for the better and for the worse. If I hadn't married a cop, I probably wouldn't be so aware of those changes but the fact is they exist.
So, I guess the answer to that last wondering question if have I changed because I married a cop is yes, I have. I am far more untrusting but twice as empathetic. I won't think twice about helping someone in need nor would I turn a blind eye to a crime being committed. I have a much better understanding of the way a student in my class may act as a result of their home life and I respect life and the law and the property of others far more than I ever did in my youth. I understand the sacrifice of first responders and I honor their memory when they give all where others might not give any. I am the first to admit there are bad cops and there are good cops and even the good ones aren't perfect. I get even angrier than a regular citizen when a cop does something bad because I expect them to live to a higher standard if they intend to enforce the law.
I was once asked if I knew then what I know now would I still have married a cop. Everyone's walk in this life is different and mine just happens to include sleepless nights. It was during these sleepless nights that I started writing and now am beginning an amazing career as a mystery author. So, yes, I would still do exactly the same thing.