After a fatality or injury of an officer, we’ve read the comments. “He knew what he was in for. He signed up for this.” We sit and question, “why did I even click on the comments?!” while we go through a variety of different emotions reading those words. Anger. Irritation. Fear. Sadness. Usually we scroll down and see the supporter who screams that this officer, and every other one, signs up for many things but death is not one of them. We take comfort in those commenters. We see them and they don’t realize it. We see that someone outside of our household, outside of the blue line, supports him. I began to wonder. Do wives within other professions “sign up” for things completely different from what they thought they were signing up for? Assuming they understood their spouses careers. I’ve been a wife before now. I knew what I was getting into. I knew what I signed up for and that’s what I got. But this?
This is not what I signed up for.
I signed up to love a man who knows that the world is bigger than just his own. I signed up to stand behind a protector. A fierce protector with a conscience. I signed up for solo dinners. For missed sports games and concerts. For holidays not celebrated on the actual day. I signed up for some sleepless nights alone and some restless days. For overtime. For silence that speaks volumes or for communication that says nothing. I signed up to admire a man who joined this profession to make sure his kids didn’t grow up the same way he did. I expected that. And I got that. But I got so much more, too.
I didn’t want to have to explain to my kids that they can’t comment on blue lights if we’re out of our car in dad’s area. I didn’t want to have to remind our kids that we can’t talk about what dad does for work. I didn’t sign up for the profanity and slander. The hatred and disdain. The one side or the other with no inbetween. I didn’t sign up to hear that my husband, the father of my children, my soulmate, deserves to die because he has some metal pinned on his chest. I didn’t sign up to remind my man “No matter what happens, you better win.”.
This isn’t okay. Not even remotely close to being okay. But until things get better, I’ll have food ready before he leaves and ship him off with more. Maybe I’ll add a funny little note. I’ll kiss him. Tell him “I love you. Have fun. Stay safe.” and occasionally smack his butt as he walks out the door. And don’t worry babe, your side of the bed will be warm when you get home. Because THAT’S what I signed up for.