A Part, Not Behind

As a law enforcement wife, I have often said that I stand behind the Thin Blue Line, I support the men and women who walk that line and have utmost respect for them. Lately, I’ve changed my way of how I think about that. As a wife, I am not behind that line, I AM a part of it, just as my husband and my children are a part of it. That line doesn’t just affect him, but anyone who is related to it.

Last Friday, my husband and I made the journey across the state to see a 22 year old officer laid to rest. He had only graduated CLEET last July. I’ve said it numerous times on Facebook, this boy was a year older than my twins. He was 2 years younger than my oldest son, and I watched his mother have to do what no mother should ever have to. Stand over his coffin. She is not behind that line. She is a part of it. She will always be a part of it. That line has forever changed her life.

The law enforcement wife is a unique creature. She learns to hear what her officer says with her eyes. I can tell what is really going on with mine by simply watching him. When I ask, “How was your day?”, he may answer “Oh, fine.” Sometimes he means that, a lot of times his body language says, “Today was a day I almost didn’t come home, worked something really bad, and because I love you, I’m willing to put on a smile and lie to you so that I can protect you, and myself.”  Am I angry, shocked an appalled that he will do that? Simply stated, no, I’m not. There are things that I know that he is not going to and never will talk to me about concerning this job, and I don’t want to know everything. I honestly don’t think that I could be the support he needs if I’m dealing with his demons along with him.

Personally, I am the type of wife that is extremely pro-active in support and I guess you could say participation in my husband’s daily law enforcement life. I want to know the in’s and out’s of his job. I ask questions all the time about different situations, laws, legalities, civil vs. municipal, and so on. We talk in 10 codes, I support his reserve academies by acting has his photographer to capture all of the training and put it into a slideshow for the graduation. I LOVE being around officers and training. Do I want to be a cop? Not at all, but being a part of this line, why not know everything I possibly can about it.

Part of my motivation for this particular writing is because we are preparing for a class we are teaching that focuses on Police Families. We are showing the documentary Code 9: Officer Needs Assistance. In the past couple of weeks, there have been around 10 officer suicides. PTSD is a topic that we both take very seriously, and put out information on facing it when we can. My thoughts will stay primarily dead center on the idea of helping even one LE family and putting the tools they need to stand this line every day of their marriage.

I am a LEOW, I am part of the Thin Blue Line, and this family bleeds blue.

 

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Day 16: No Introduction Needed

It goes without saying that each of my children are unique individuals unto themselves. You could peg them just as easily by their personalities as you can by actually looking at them. None more so than my youngest. Jeremiah is fixing to turn 17. With him more than the others, I wonder where the the time really has gone.

Jeremiah is the one I could use the analogy of the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. A sarcastic, quit witted butterfly, but one none the less. He went from being a shy, introverted and empathetic little boy to this teenage man-child who no longer has a fear of what people may think of him, although he still retains that empathetic heart. He is so secure on who he is, that it is a great example even to us adults to just simply LIVE.

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Day 16: No Introduction Needed

Not only is he sharp as a tack, he is exceedingly intelligent. He will start spitting out math stuff and I will have to remind him that he is speaking math and not English and that if he wants me to be able to participate in the conversation he will have to change it up some. Hand in hand with his intellect, his talent for music it astounding beyond measure. (Did get the music pun there? Measure? ……)

In 5th grade he decided he wanted to play trumpet. And having older brothers in the high school band, he would pick up what they were playing by ear, and could actually look at flute or saxophone music and transpose it to trumpet. He didn’t stop there, however. He started learning other instruments by just playing them. Trombone, baritone, tuba all came to him with ease.

His talent overlaps with  his passion for the band. He treats it with the seriousness it deserves, while having fun with what he is doing.

With a quirkiness to rival the ages, he has taken the OKRF community by storm and has multiple mothers and family that have adopted him. He spends his festival days hanging out in the gypsy camp as Pink, and is also the lost laundry lad.

jeremiah

If ever there was a child who broke the mold, it is this one. Full of wit, charm, smarts, passion and compassion, Jeremiah is a total package human being, and one who makes both his parents very proud.

Day 4: The Secret Life of Cats

We have always been cat people. With as much as we are on the go, dogs are just too high maintenance and require a lot more attention than cats do. We have always been a 2 cat household until recently when my mother’s cat had a litter and threw a baby too cute to pass up. Now, we have 3 cats who keep us on our toes with what shenanigans they will pull next. 

Much like humans, cats have their own unique personalities and quirks.

Mr. Bubbles and the Spider


Meet Mr. Bubbles, our most recent addition to the family who has claimed my youngest son as his human. We tapped into his love for fake, Halloween spiders when he decided to use our two giant spiders as a kitty playground. We quickly realized that we would need to give home one of his very own, and we tied a cat toy to it to keep him away from Kronk and Ysma. It partially worked. Now that I have stripped the house of Halloween decorations, his spiders remain and are not just toys, but makeshift pillows as well.  Mr. Bubbles also has an alias. He has the quietest meow. It is almost non existent…. that is until it’s time to eat and then Banshee Bubbles comes out. He finds his voice and wails until the food is in front of him.

Anubis


Anubis is my baby. I had always wanted a black cat, and when Bast, who I will share about later passed away, we found Anubis a couple of weeks later and adopted him. This cat is an attention whore and a cry baby. When he decides it is time for me to love on him, nothing will get in his way. His favorite time to demand affection is when I am at the computer, and he is relentless. He is also the emperor to Darth Bubbles and has taken our newest family member under his paw.

Officer Pebbles


Pebbles is the queen bee of the house and is very much my husband’s cat. She is the oldest of our trio and has an attitude proving she is the true ruler of the household.  She tolerates us all, but really only has affection for my husband, and when he gets home from work, she lets him know that she didn’t give him permission to leave for the day and that it is now time for penance. She then commandeers his lap and proceeds to take a nap.  While wanting to think she is a big tuff kitty who can rule the outside as well as the inside, she will sit at the window, wait for her chance to try to get outside, only to freak out once she is there. To quote from The Lion King “Let me out, let me out!” “Let me in, let me in!” Both lines provided by her.

Bast, my old man


The first cat I truly fell in love with was my old man, Bast. I had decided before we got him, the next cat we got, regardless of gender would be named after the Egyptian cat goddess. When  my twins found this poor little stray, covered in fleas and starving, he stole my heart that first moment. He was frisky before he grew into adulthood, and even then had his moments. He was a mint addict and would go nuts over the smell of peppermint, which I planted on his grave when we buried him.  In 2014, he became ill and when we found that it was untreatable, the vet recommended that we put him to sleep so that his passing would not be painful. To date, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The day after my birthday, we said our goodbyes and I held him in my arms as he slipped from this life. I’m not going to lie, just writing about it is making me tear up. I truly miss my old man.

Last night, we watched a documentary on Netflix called “The Lion in Your Living Room”. For over half of it, Mr. Bubbles sat and watched with us. My husband even took video as it was quite unbelievable to behold. Midway through, he decided his boy needed his attention and went to curl up with him. 

Cats are amazing, fun, and interesting animals. They are affectionate, until they aren’t, and make my world so much more lively. 

Day 2: Pain Coupled With Beauty

Day 2: thorn bush at Roman Nose State Park

Yesterday morning, we decided to catch a quick hike at Roman Nose and try to find some geocaches before getting ready for Halloween. Not too far into the hike, just near a long bridge were several thorn bushes with nasty looking barbs. Pain in the midst of all of that beauty, if you weren’t careful. While looking at them, I started tucking away thoughts for this particular post. Overall, my life is full of beauty, but lately, I keep getting tangled up in the thorns that seem to be on my path. 

Life is a giant hike, the ultimate hike. We journey forward, experiencing all sorts of amazing things, some spectacular, others not so much. For me, 2016 has been the year of the thorn. Some are my own personal thorns, while others creep across my direct path, but belong to my husband and children. 

Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with casteochondritis, which is a fancy way to say I messed up the ligimants and cartilage in my chest.  It’s one of those injuries they can’t really do anything about, but has to heal on its own. Needless to say, I’m still fighting it as anything and everywthing can cause it to hurt. As frustrating as it is, it isn’t as bothersome to me as the thorn that struck in September. When going to my annual eye exam, I was sent for a scan and some Fundus photos. Instead of hearing, “everything is ok”, I heard “we are sending you to a retina specialist”.  Knowing something could be going down with your vision would be worriesome for anyone. For me, the thought is devastating as I love to take photos, I love to hike, I eat life with my eyes. This thorn pricks at me daily. 

When you couple your own thorns with those of your family, things like your spouse having siatica and bulging discs, one child having been in a car wreck at the beginning of the year and now his second car has to have a new transmission and his twin facing his first military deployment, you feel like you are being choked down, like you are pricked on all sides. BUT that is when you stop struggling and you look beyond the pain the is blinding you from seeing anything else. You look at nature, through the camera lens, at life with a fresh set of eyes, no longer taking for granted what you are seeing. You look at the amazing food art one child is producing and the honor in the other and see how they are grabbing life with both hands and are truly happy. And when you do this, the pricks don’t sting quite as bad. You start to see the beauty that is right in front of your face. You begin to continue that hike forward into life instead of letting it pass you by. 

There will always be thorns. It’s up to us to choose to push forward in spite of them being on our path, and taking in how awe inspiring life really can be in spite of some of the pain we have to go through during the journey.