I read a silly novel last year, right when Blue was about to start at the academy. It was your standard fluff crime story about a detective and a serial killer and was a complete waste of time other than one sentence that stood-out and stuck with me. The cop was remembering his wife, who had passed away, and how she'd always known how best to take care of him after a hard day; cold beer, good meal and a warm body to fall asleep next to.
There are a few tid-bits of advice that have helped get us through the first year-and-a-half as a police family and this one, found in a very unlikely place, is one of the best.
I've learned that when Blue gets home from a long shift full of drunks, arrests, domestics and complainants, the best thing I can do is offer him a nice cold Keith's, a tasty meal and some down-time with me.
I recently found myself in a light-hearted conversation with an acquaintance about a few of the hardships of being a police officer's wife. I think that she started projecting her feelings about her own husband onto Blue and his career and immediately started-in on how we need to teach our sons sacrifice from a young age when they get home from school so that they can be different from their dads.
I let her have her say and then politely disagreed. I told her that when I start to feel that way I try and put myself in Blue's shoes. How would I feel waking-up at 5:45am to work a 10 hour shift dealing with all of the people in city that no-one else wants to deal with, not getting any thanks for it, often missing meals and being cursed and yelled at repeatedly? Finally your shift is drawing to and end but you get assigned to one last call of the day, which usually ends-up being your worst one or, in the very least, the most irritating person you've had so far. You're tired from dealing with all of the people, writing all of the reports, lugging around all of your gear that is strapped to your body only to come home to a wife that expects you to 'sacrifice' 4 or 5 more hours of your time? No, I'm pretty sure by that point all I'd want to do is have a beer, eat some food and crash on the couch with a wife who is understanding...with a wife who knows I'd like to do all those things around the house (and I'll get around to it when I can), but I've gotta get up and start all over tomorrow.
Maybe she actually does have a flaky husband. I don't know. All I do know is that I see how hard Blue works to make a good career for himself and a better life for his family (especially now that we have another Baby Blue to think about) and I see all of the sacrifice that has gone into it. Because of the daily sacrifice he makes we have a steady income, a pension, and benefits, just to name a few. I do try to teach our kids to put themselves aside and help others but I think that they've already got one of the best role models they could hope for, leading by example.
At least that's how I see it.